While riding on the bus a woman said, “I love books,” to no one in particular. She took a long sniff of the pages, then let out a euphoric, “ah.”
Some of the passengers rolled their eyes. Others had a look of fear. A teenager laughed to himself.
One man sitting behind her felt a compulsion to reply. “You know, some people read books, not just smell ‘em.”
The woman turned. “Books are more than just words on a page. You don’t just look at it. You hold it. Caress it.”
“Do you and your book wanna be along a minute?”
The woman scowled. “Don’t be crude.”
The teenager laughed.
The woman shifted in her seat so she could face the man. “Reading is a complex sensory experience. It’s not just about the word, but touch and smell, too.”
“I like reading with a book levitating in front of me. That way I can avoid paper cuts,” said the man.
“Why are you mocking me?”
“Because we’re living in a video age. It’s about the visual. Image and action.”
The woman wrinkled her nose in disdain. “That’s so one dimensional.”
“No, it’s two dimensional, at least. You see and hear videos. That’s two.”
“Yes, but reading books involves imagination. It’s like creating pictures in your brain.”
“You can do that with e-readers. And you don’t have to lug heavy books around.”
“But each physical book has a character all its own. You can enter and exit at any point, jump forward and look back at an instant.”
“Books are made out of paper. Trees died so you could feel them up.”
The woman looked horrified. “Again. Rude. Besides, computers are chemically processed plastic. Books are made of a renewable resource and are recyclable.”
The man thought for a second. Finally he said, “you’re still weird.”
“Did you know that the archaic Scottish definition of the word ‘weird’ means ‘a person’s destiny’? It’s a term Shakespeare used in Macbeth for the witches. They had the power to know someone’s future. You know what? I have that power. I get it through books,” said the woman with an impish grin.
The man quickly left at the next bus stop.