Sunday, August 23, 2009

Great Literature Being in the Eye of the Beholder...

My mom is still in the hospital, recovering from surgery. On my way to visit her this afternoon, I stopped at the local bookstore to pick up some magazines for her and maybe some short stories if I could find some she hadn't read yet.

As I was checking out the "new fiction" display, there was no way to avoid overhearing the rant another customer was delivering to one of the employees. The rant-ee had her husband and pre-teens in tow, and was she righteously angry? Oh yes... yes she was. Apparently, this store did not carry a particular book and the helpful clerk had offered to a) order it for her or b) provide her with a list of other stores that did have it in stock. This was simply not acceptable.

"Does NO ONE in this town read? No one? This is APPALLING. I cannot BELIEVE I am going to have to go to another TOWN to find it. We just moved here from TEXAS and this is like STEPPING BACK IN TIME. I cannot believe this. I have never SEEN such a bunch of UNEDUCATED, UNREAD people in my LIFE and they don't even seem to CARE!"

She stomped away to another display and one of her children murmured something about a vampire book on display, which triggered another round. "I am not buying you that, you don't READ your books!" she said, in the sort of smug tone you usually here from eighth-grade girls. "You need to READ some of the books you already HAVE. You're not like ME, I READ all my books, I read all the time! I can't go a DAY without reading!"

I turned to see what kind of woman was delivering these elitist, self-aggrandizing tantrums and discover what books she was shopping for. Elie Wiesel, perhaps? Isabelle Allende? Zorah Neale Hurston? Or perhaps Descartes? Voltaire? Dostoevsky? Faulkner? Barbara Kingsolver? Salman Rushdie?? Virginia Woolf??? Oh, Enquiring Gerbils HAD to know!

Y'know... her entire spiel probably would have carried a LOT more weight if she hadn't been carrying three really trashy bodice-rippers.


Anonymous said...

Yelling that you are from Texas probably isn't the best way to get people to believe you are well educated, either.

Not that people in Texas aren't.


PS. Glad to see you here again!

Gerbil said...

well, actually the tone she was using said a LOT more about her "education" than she probably realized.

PS. Thanks!