On a chilly, wet, semi-snowy morning today, I was able to snag about 10 minutes of quiet “me” time at Birch Coffee on 7th Avenue before a meeting. Although I’ve mostly given up coffee because it upsets my stomach, I couldn’t resist the temptation of digging into a delicious warm cappuccino (of course, two sips in, my stomach started hurting, but that’s really neither here nor there) alongside the book I’m currently reading: The Big Short by Michael Lewis.
In normal 2013 fashion, I typically read e-books, but in an effort to save money last month, I snagged this one from Mom and Dad’s bookshelves. The coffee shop is pretty teeny, and the man sitting at the table to my right saw what I was reading and commented that he had loved the book when he read it, and that he hoped I was enjoying it just as much. This caught the attention of the man and woman sitting at the table to my left, who said they had read Michael Lewis’s other books (he also wrote Moneyball, Liar’s Poker, and The Blind Side. NBD.) and wondered if this one was just as good (I was no help as I haven’t read the others, but I can say that this one is excellent). And the four of us, all strangers with a full snowy Friday ahead, spent a few minutes chatting, all because of the book I had pulled out and rested on the table while waiting for my cappuccino to cool off enough to drink. I wouldn’t say that I always welcome conversation with strangers, but in this particular case, it was friendly, interesting, and short enough not to border on awkward.
I love the convenience of e-books, and I’m the first to admit that I read way more than I used to because of them. But this morning, I realized that they are also just one more thing that keeps us from being able to have interesting conversations with strangers in coffee shops on random Friday mornings. And that’s kind of a bummer.
(And then I immediately took out my phone and took the above Instagrammed photo. Go figure.)