It’s so rare that you will have a conversation with a stranger in Wilkes-Barre and it’ll be a positive one, particularly when it’s a 50-some-year-old black male wearing what can only be described as a New York Yankees baseball cap that looked like an enlarged version of what you used to get your soft serve ice cream in.
I had just interviewed a local author on his book about James Garfield in the cafe at the Barnes and Noble by our office and was sitting post-interview, eating my lunch. I tucked his book away in my bag and pulled out Jurassic Park, what I’m currently reading. I saw the man sitting with two other older men across the way from me, but paid them no mind until a very gruff voice said to me, “I had to come over and say hi. I’m always attracted to people with the same bad habits I have; I always read two books at once.”
Now, at first my skeeve sense went on high alert, but then he genuinely started talking to me in a non-creepy way about books. He never sat down, he never got too close. He took the book I had just interviewed the guy about and brought it over to his friend who likes history to show it to him. He asked me what I was reading and told me he was reading about a real-life gangster that never used a loaded gun for his bank robberies and his name was “Slick Willie” Sutton. He showed me the book and, you know what? I’m going to get it to read.
It was a 5-minute conversation, but it was nice, and I don’t want to forget it. These kinds of things can be so few and far between.