Welcome to WTFF. In which I attempt to answer a single question--normally a thought on a book or a bookish subject--that I've been pondering for the past week. This week it's "why the f*ck won't you go away so I can talk about books?"
Whenever I meet another reader I instantly wonder about their bookish habits. The questions start next. We all do it. We try to get to know one anotherr: do you dog ear pages? Do you use one particular bookmark? Kindle or Nook?
Some of these questions are almost like asking a person what their favorite sports team is--the other ones are like asking "Chinese or Mexican?" The real deal with this is anyone who witnesses the transaction. You know what I'm talking about. That one person who's confused as to who Suzanne Collins is, or who doesn't understand the difference between mystery and horror.
There's always that one person there during the meeting between two readers who is trying to figure what the heck is going on. They might even exclaim: "I have no idea what you guys are talking about..." And then remove themselves from the conversation.
A List of Bookish Questions Asked and Their Real World Translations:
"Do you read a lot?"
Translation: "I want to get to know you. Do we have anything in common?"
"What do you like to read?"
Translation: "Do you like Mexican food or Chinese food more? What's your opinion on Thai?"
"I try to keep my books pristine."
Translation: "My apartment is really clean."
"I love Neil Gaiman."
Translation: "Beards are cool."
Can you tell I've had this problem before? Clearly talking about books with someone in front of someone else can be tricky. It immediately excludes them from the conversation. So to include them in the conversation you have to stop talking about books. When all you really wanted to do was talk about books. You've just met another reader! This is a rarity these days. It's doubleplusgood if the other person likes the same authors and books as you.
So that means it's doubleplusbad when the other person interrupts and changes the topic of the conversation. It isn't rude--it's natural. This person is being excluded. You feel bad for it. You include them again. Then the chances are you never get to have that great conversation you've been aching for. Even worse is the guilt.
I propose we stop feeling guilty when this happens. The bookish types can be shy and compromising sometimes. We understand that a lot of people don't love what we love so we compromise. Well, f*ck that. I have to withstand constant talk of baseball and football (neither of which I understand).
So the next time this happens:
Me: I love reading.
Them: Oh me too! I like Neil Gaiman!
Me: Have you read American Gods?
Them: Yes! That is my favorite book!
Friend: Have you guys seen Spider-Man 3 yet?
(the conversation is now about Spider-Man)
I'm doing this:
Me: I love reading.
Them: Oh me too!
Me: Shut the fuck up. You got to talk about football yesterday for 20 minutes.
(the conversation is now about books)
That's it for this week's why the f*ck friday. Different opinion? Similar experience? Similar thoughts on this subject? Post it below in the comments. Feel free to berate me, praise me, or buy me some fancy coffee. You can even tell me to f*ck off and then buy me a coffee. I enjoy hearing the bookish and nerdy thoughts of others.