Thursday, June 5, 2008

Is that you on the bus? Is that you on the train?

(Via angstidentprone)

Remind me to never again read a David Sedaris book on the bus.

I picked up the new short story collection When You Are Engulfed In Flames on my lunch break yesterday, and eager to break that baby in, I cracked it open while I was on the 156. I don't even take the 156 home normally, but for some unknown reason I thought, what the hell?

Big mistake.

I actually got a seat towards the back and was minding my own business until somewhere around Dickens, the woman I was sitting next to had to get up. I moved to the empty bench next to me, at which point I guess I flashed a little too much cover and a lecherous man wearing a bad polo pounced. He's the kind of guy who was probably once upon a time really attractive, and not that he's hideous now, but his aww-shucks demeanor combined with this faux-ignorance thing he had going on was really grating on my nerves. Oh, that and, if I'm reading a book on the CTA, then there's a reason I'm reading a book on the CTA!:

Lech: "Oh, is that book any good? I have a friend who recommended that author to me."
- No you don't, buddy. You're trying to make a missed connection happen with the help of David Sedaris.

Me: "Um, yeah, I guess. I'm really not that far into it."
- Yes, what little I've read of it IS good, but saying so would imply that I want to continue a conversation with you.

Lech: "Well, have you read anything else by him?"
- I realize you're trying to see if I'm a full-blown 'mo by asking this question. I'm not buyin' it!

Me: "Yes, I've read all his books."
- Okay, I bought it.

Lech: "Oh yeah? What does he normally write about?" (Licks lips)
- OH, GIVE IT UP ALREADY! You know what he writes about. You have a curio cabinet at home displaying each of his signed first editions!

Me: "He writes about all kinds of things. Sort of slice-of-life. They're all short stories though."
- Where is my stop?

Lech: "Well that's good! Short stories I can handle."
- You are stupid.

There were a few more uncomfortable exchanges before I got off. He tried to ask me about why I liked Sedaris so much, and I told him about how I had seen him live, and how his stories are best heard orally, but luckily I didn't use the word orally or else I may have been molested right then and there.

The only other time I've been hit-on while reading is when I was in the middle of The Stranger which I didn't understand either because doesn't the fact that you're reading that book instantly telegraph that you're anti-social? You'd think. So, this morning I took the jacket off of my book while I was riding the brown line, but the only thing potentially worse than reading David Sedaris on the train is trying to hide the fact that you're reading David Sedaris on the train. sigh. Junot Diaz never gave me this much grief.


lkbom said...

Anti-social public transit checklist:

1. Book/magazine/religious pamphlet
2. iPod
3. Sunglasses

If you're that serious about it, you can also buy a fake hearing aid and a seeing eye dog. You can borrow Latte for a few days if you want.

robin dudley-howes said...


I just found your blog on "ohlookwhatimade" and was intrigued by your blog name. Love your writing style and pics. I was listening to Teri Gross on NPR tonight and she interviewed David Sedaris. He was witty as always with funny stories and promoting this book you became enamored with. I'll have to go buy it and add it to the collection. My hubby and I have been a fan of his way before he became big.

It's always wonderful to have such serendipity (such as running into your witty blog). I lOVE it!

cheers and hick ups?
on my 3rd glass of wine...