Thursday, February 21, 2008

Eclipses, vomiting children, & crowded trains...

The end of a heavy week of work, design, and general trip-planning mayhem culminated in one of the longest days on record for me filled with strange occurrences.

Leaving work yesterday, I managed to catch the cool lunar eclipse altering our skies. It was in the rusty-hazy phase, very ephemeral, and it was still happening when I got off the bus in the neighborhood I live in. I was surprised to see many groups and couples taking note of (and in some cases sitting and watching) the eclipse; like fireworks. It was nice to see people paying attention beyond the drudgery of our lives. Technically and poetically we were looking at our shadows (or the cumulative effect of our shadows), and I waxed philosophically to myself while I prepared for my trip to New York City to visit my girlfriend.
You can read a great piece on the eclipse here.

While waiting for the bus to get me to the airport, I happened to stand next to a couple with a child, who I realized had just thrown up on her stroller. The air was thick with the smell, but what disturbed me was the realization that the parents were high--inebriated, whatever-- and how the child was trying to convey its discomfort, and the parents belated responses, when they weren't bickering with each other. They half-heartedly scraped off the stroller, didn't let her sit in it (that god!) and then got on the same bus I did. I just kept on thinking about the kid growing up with parents who are locked into these vicious little worlds, and what they would teach the child about the world at large, and whether the kid would get to know someone outside of the family dynamic (school, friend, stranger) that would show them there's more to life than this...Anyhow, sweet natured child won over bus riders, even with the suspicious odor floating around.

A pretty benign plane trip later and I found myself on the long trip from JFK airport to Washington Heights on the A train. And this is where finally this post related to BOOKS!

As the carriage crowded up, I stole glimpses of the books people were reading; it's like an addiction for a bookseller, just a bit of the cover or spine, or if one is close enough, the page header... If we don't figure out what the book is, it drives us crazy.
I guess you could say I was Bookspotting on the train.

Seen: a romance (Nora Roberts);

a book about autism (which seems to have taken over from bad drug addiction stories as the subject du jour amongst nonfiction readers);

"In the Blink of an Eye", a book about film;

"The New Kings of Nonfiction"-- why "New Kings"? Who were the old ones? And why, since there is a female or two in the line-up, pay tribute to a time when most of the paid writers were white and male? If they were going for something hipper than 'New Masters' or 'Best of', why not go for the throat: "The Shit-Kickers of Non Fiction", or, getting in line with the merger of Biz-speak and pop culture: "Future-proof Imagineers of Sense Reporting" (thanks to Office Life for the assist), or how about "Bad-ass Motherfucking Truth Tellers"--that I would read;

and the kicker-- an older gent bundled his way onto the seat next to me (with my bags I left little room for comfort), and lo and behold! Out of all the people on the train that could sit next to me, the conspiracy nut whips out a computer print-out entitled "The Illuminati and the House of Rothchild"... Sad thing is I knew most of this guy's attitudes (and the content of the article) from my occasional forays into fringe culture.

And the best part of all this Bookspotting: nary an Oprah book to be seen!

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