Wednesday, January 09, 2008

today : Books we only pretend we've read

Overheard in a second hand bookstore:

Middle aged man in hiking boots, Craghoppers fleece and jeans, works in the store:
So, what are you reading these days?
Rather tall, exotic and slightly boho looking thirtysomething woman with wild ringlets and Eastern European accent:
Well, I read Lady Chatterley...
Him: All that overwrought sex is very adolescent..
Her: Actually I expected it to be yeah, but I found it was rather touching.
Him: Well, yeah. It's really well written. But other people always read it just for the sex.
Her: Y'know, I'm still a bit baffled by the nuances of the class system.
Him: Well, yeah, obviously that's his major theme. I mean in Sons and Lovers and some of the others.
Her: What shall I buy? I spend too much on books. [she picks up a copy of Hanif Kureishi's Love in a Blue Time]
Him: That's a good choice.
Her: Hmmm.
Him: I really like the Indian writers, like Rushdie.
Her: Really? I got stuck halfway through the Satanic Verses and couldn't finish it.
Him: Well it was pretty over-rated.
Her: Hmmm. I think I'll get this one. [to herself] God I spend so much on books.
Him : Yeah.
Her : I'll get this one, I think.
[he rushes to the counter where I have been standing waiting for someone to serve me. He goes behind it, reaches back and takes the book from her hand. She is not conventionally pretty, but alluringly sexy and elegant right down to her fingers. He starts to punch the till.]
Me: Excuse me, but wasn't I first?
He glares at me.
Her : Oh God, yeah, I'm sorry. You've been waiting...erm.
Me: Thanks, I'm a bit pushed for time.
Her: Oh, of course. [she addresses him]. Tell you what, I'll skip buying this one today...maybe another day. John's waiting for me in the car. [She wafts out of the shop. He punches the till with some force and doesn't speak to me. I have to ask him how much I need to pay.]

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