I know what you’re thinking: That’s preposterous!
Au contraire, mon amis. Au contraire.
Two days ago, I was wandering around Chapters, looking through the magazines for all of my favorite titles and scouring the marked-down tables for good reads. There really is nothing quite like finding books marked down 80 percent. Except finding jeans marked down 80 percent. Or handbags. Ooh! Shoes!
Anyway, I love books (even if it’s antiquated to do so), and I especially love bookstores and just being among a ridiculous amount of words.
What I do not love is being in a bookstore with a lady on her cell phone having a conversation in Italian. I wasn’t actually with this woman, but no matter where I stood in the bookstore, she was with me.
Thumbing through a magazine at the front of the store? I can hear you! Bent over to explore the books under a table of priced-down fiction near the middle of the store? I can hear you! Waiting in line to get a coffee off to the far side of the store? I can STILL hear you!
I can’t decide if she was an angry Italian, an overjoyed Italian or simply an easily excitable Italian. Either way, the entire shrill conversation made me want to take my own cell phone out of my bag and jump up and down on it.
And, to think I’m not even to the part where the excitement happens. That’s coming. Now.
While waiting in line to purchase my items, I overhear the store manager, who is also on the phone, speaking in a low tone. She is cordially pleading with someone, whom I imagine is an emergency responder, to please send a fire truck over straightaway because someone has flicked a lit cigarette into the bushes in front of the store, and the mulch is on fire, and the bushes are catching fire, and the whole place is going to burn down.
To the ground.
Now THAT is an acceptable I’m-On-The-Phone-In-A-Bookstore conversation. Brief, to the point, and made in the one area where customers are least expecting peace and quiet while they leaf through reading material: behind the sales counter.
The good news is that (a) a fire truck quickly arrived and five, fully dressed firemen set about smothering small burning patches of mulch, essentially saving the day, and (b) the long-winded Italian woman did not follow me home.