an only in new york moment
One of my best friends from college left me this book to read and pass on when she apartment-sat the week following my wedding. This admittedly would probably not be a first choice read for me, but she happens to have great taste and I trust her opinion on most life matters so I decided to give it a try.
On Wednesday night I cracked the book open during my commute home to continue reading and I immediately sensed that the guy sitting next to me was reading over my shoulder. Creepy-ish, but not the creepiest. I also happened to be leaving from a boxing class so I figured if he was so interested in the book that he was willing to get near my stinky ass, then whatever, his olfactory loss.
I was finally getting used to him and started getting lost in the story when he interrupted and said, “Can you tell me who wrote this book?”
"Me?" Duh, me. Classic me response.
"Yeah, do you mind telling me who the author is?"
I closed the book to show him, worried I’d offend anyone else eavesdropping by butchering the author’s name.
"I KNEW IT! SHE’S FROM MY COUNTRY!"
I normally would not care but he was so excited, I genuinely wanted to high five him.
"See that name?" He opened my book to where I bookmarked it and shoved his finger under one of the character’s names: Kochamma. "Yeah, that name is from my town. I love this book! I love this author! She’s the only one from my town to ever win the Booker Prize."
He then proceeded to tell me that the author lost popularity recently. I asked why. Because a couple months ago she said that Gandhi was overrated. Woah. Fighting words.
At this point I’m invested, and I asked what he’s doing in the States. He’s studying to be a Physician’s Assistant at City College.
Very cool, will he stick around or go back to his country with the author who has lost favor for her controversial words?
He has his Green Card, he’ll apply for citizenship soon. I could tell he’s proud. I congratulated him because I didn’t know what else to say. He asked what I study. Now that I’m in my late 20s I took that as a compliment and informed him that I’m just a regular working non-student New Yorker. He then wanted to know about my country. My country is America but my folks are from Korea.
Korea! He’s excited again. He loves a certain director (whose name he butchered so I can’t remember it but he’s from a small town in India so who am I to judge his Korean pronunciation), but he’s controversial. I am seeing a theme here with this kid.
We reached his stop. He shook my hand. “You made my night! I can’t believe I saw someone read a book by my favorite author from my home. Nice meeting you!”