Where do I start. At the end perhaps.
I was walking quickly towards my car. Down the one way street.
The man standing on the patio, smoking his cigarette called out to me, “You look cold.”
“Yes, I am but I suppose it’s winter!”
“True,” he responded and I kept on marching.
I was shivering, I was cold even though my feet continued to sweat from being in my boots and indoors for two hours, having participated in a book club.
I can’t quite say I actively participated. I participated to the point of laughing when things were funny, shared small talk with the person on my right and on my left, when appropriate (only pre-book club, during break and post-book club) and typed tidbits on my iPad.
I was the only one typing and I am sure that was obvious. I noticed other people jotting things down in their note pads, but no typing. Just me. Typing, smiling, laughing, sometimes looking serious (or at least in my head I was serious) and enjoying my time in a circle full of strangers.
Strange. I know.
The discussion around the book was lively with many different ideas and insights shared. I particularly enjoyed the diversity of the group. This is not a “group think” club. At times it was so academically informed that I was having difficulty keeping up with the concepts that, thankfully, were then followed by light-hearted jokes.
And real funny jokes. I always got the jokes!
I arrived a few minutes early. There was a small group of people waiting outside of the auditorium. The librarian was rustling with the keys, finding the one that fit the lock to open the door. Inside the room I sat down on a chair in the circle and willed myself NOT to pull out my phone. The point of a book club is to be social, no place for my phone. It felt awkward (really, I know) so I rationalized with myself that my iPad would be acceptable – I needed access to Google Books in any event!
The man two seats away leaned over towards me.
“DId you read the book?”
“Part of it,” I replied
“It didn’t like the book. I don’t know who picked this book. Look how big it is,” and he pointed to another book club member who had brought along a library copy.
I nodded towards him not sure what to say to keep the conversation going, but no worry, he continued, “They could have at least picked a book about relationships and marriage. EVERYONE likes reading about THAT,” he emphasized.
I didn’t know how to respond. I clammed up. Of course everyone likes talking about relationships and I imagined in my head what the next bits of conversation would be like and I shyly turned away to my open iPad. All of a sudden I couldn’t bring myself to be social.
Shortly after a second gentleman arrived and sat between us. It didn’t take long before the two strangers were talking up a storm.
“There is a woman I know,” the first man was saying, “She met a Canadian man and moved to Canada. She’s a widow now.”
“Oh yes,” replied the second gentleman
“I can, you know, set up a date for you but she’s older,” and then he stated her age.
The second gentleman nodded and I didn’t catch his reply but I’d like to think he said yes to a set-up to the man who likes talking about relationships and marriage!
Favourite lines of the night:
- “Life is random.”
- “We tend to blow things out of proportion.”
- “If you want to be happy, join a book club don’t buy a fancy car.”
I enjoyed my night and recommend joining a book club even if only to be a smiling typist.