Once upon a time I was sitting in the hairdressers’ saloon having a haircut (wild story, I know), and the hairdresser asked me what I did. I said I was a writer. This often confuses people, so I elaborated with, “I write books.”
She replied rather too enthusiastically with, “Oh! Do you know I have never once finished a book?”
What, I thought. Not even See Spot Run? Not even the books you were forced to read in high school, often aloud, with the whole of the class pitching in? Not even when you studied to become a hairdresser? Not one book?
“Oh,” I thought to say in reply, “is that because you’re illiterate?”
But she was in control of the scissors, so I thought I’d better not.
But really. She’d never ever finished a book, which I’m assuming means she’d never picked up a book of her own volition. Why would she tell me that? As some smug sign of superiority? A means of saying, You may well write books, but I, I shall never read them! Mwa ha.
I thought about saying, “Well I’ve never given a toss about my hair. It doesn’t stop me from forcing myself to stay in the chair for the entire duration of a haircut.”
She’d never ever ever ever ever ever ever finished reading a book. Never wanted to read. Never, perhaps, felt that desire to escape that a book satiates so well. So you and I might think, but then who puts so much effort into their appearance who is happy with themselves?
I left feeling very sorry for her indeed.