For the Love of Books… and Not Running into Things or Getting Hit by Things

Taking public transportation has led me to “meet” various characters over the years. These are people who I haven’t actually met or have only had limited interaction.  That is why I refer to them as characters since I don’t know the real them, just how they appear to me.

For example, there’s Headphones Guy who rides my train and has a surviving pair of mid-90s headphones. He also makes me think of the old Maxwell ad.

If they are actual mid-90s headphones kudos to him for them lasting this long. Otherwise, the new version looks really close to the old ones. (I can’t call 90s retro just yet especially when I agree with the meme about 1990 being ten years ago.) Maybe some day I’ll ask him but for now our interactions has been capped at thank you/you’re welcome exchanges since he is nice and will often let people off the train ahead of him. (Impatient people on Metra will definitely be a post for another day.)

Then there are the people I frequently see on the street. Book Lady falls into this category. Book Lady is a lady who reads a book. (I know, my names are so creative.) So Book Lady reads her books which isn’t a shocking discovery since people do read books. What always catches my attention is that she reads while walking down the sidewalk… full of other pedestrians… during morning rush hour. I know I have decent peripheral vision but “Really?!?!” is an immediate thought right after wanting to scream “BOOK CHECK!” like a demented junior high kid.

Clearly, she loves to read. I love to read too but I also love not potentially walking into a light pole, tripping over a rolling bag being dragging behind someone, or doing my best impression of a human backpack and landing square between someone’s shoulder blades.

If I have my messenger bag with me, there is a book with me. If I am in the mood to read something not on my cell phone or our data plan is almost maxed out, I’m usually reading it on the train. I think I have about 4 books in progress right now plus I have new-to-me ones to read from a book sale and several garage sales last summer.

I get it. I understand the needing to find out what happens next.  If I’ve had a window seat in the morning, I’ve waited a minute or two to get off the train until I can get to a good stopping point.This is only in the morning since when I’m homebound I’m not stopping at the end of the line.  Not paying attention to stops and getting lost in a book can more detrimental to my travel plans then. It’s not like I’ve missed my stop due to reading The Bloggess’s book and had to have Darth Husband come get me from another train station… in the pouring rain… when he had an online computer game night set up with a friend.

Ok, maybe once.

So getting lost in a book makes sense to me since I’ve been there numerous non-train times as well. I was one of those kids who got caught reading with a flashlight when I should have been sleeping. The book was just that good or I had to find out what happened next with The Boxcar Children. Maybe this was the case with Book Lady. She has to know what happens next because the book is just that good.

So if the books are that good, and obviously not The Boxcar Children, what are they? I’ve started paying more attention but forgot to actually make note of what they were after the initial ah-hah moment. I don’t want to be the creepy person on the sidewalk staring at her but honestly, I doubt she’d notice if it was a quick glance. One that I did notice as we passed each other was this one – The Icon Thief. Hmmmm, not necessarily one I’d pick up from a table full of books but looks like it could be interesting.

Since The Icon Thief, Book Lady has moved on to another book and then another. Walking and reading is clearly a norm for her. I’m just curious why and if there is another reason other than just loving books.  Does she have a super packed schedule and the time that she to walk the only time she has to read? Does she hate being in public and uses this as a buffer for strangers? Does she have a stressful job and this is the last few moments of peace before another hectic day begins? Does she want to shorten her to-read list on GoodReads? Is she part of a Book Club and unlike me, actually keeps up with the reading?

Realistically, I probably will never know since I don’t foresee myself ever asking her. One thing i know though is I won’t become another version of Book Lady. If I tried to walk and read during the walking part of my commute, I’d be the one walking into a pole.

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