Bookstore Encounter

A few months ago, I attempted to make a quick trip to Barnes and Noble. I know how can any trip to Barnes and Noble be quick if you are a book lover? I was limited on time and knew one book I specifically wanted and another I knew the type, but not the title.

Anyway, I dash in and start thumbing through alphabetically by author. I get to about the third shelf, and some guy starts small talk. He asks my opinion on some book. I give it and think that’s the end of it., but no he’s not finished yet. Dang it, I do NOT have time to chat with someone I know much less a stranger. I want to get my books and leave. “Are you a writer?” he asks. Can he not see I am trying to concentrate? Still, I don’t want to be rude.

I tell him no. Then I think better of it and add, “Well, I do write, but I haven’t published a book.” Big mistake. He starts to tell me that he is going to be a famous author, way bigger than Stephen King or John Grisham. I tell him that’s great and good luck, and walk away even though the book I need is in that section. He follows me continuing to tell me his plans. So much for a quick and fruitful trip, I think. He goes on to ask me if I know which genre sells the best and what is the most important factor in writing. I tell him no (to me writing is not about making money but the love of the craft) to the first question and answer talent and skill for the second. He tells me I am wrong that the best selling books are romance which puts it at the top of most important factors. He continues to tell me that he is going to be the first mystery/romance novelist. I haven’t the heart to tell him he would not be the first, but I try to keep walking. And I find his attitude cocky, not refreshing. Finally I ask him how long he has been writing and he answers that he hasn’t even started yet, but he had been researching and found that out and is ready to begin. Now, I am irritated that I have some newbie trying to give me advice with the pretense that he’s asking for it. I want to tell him it isn’t as easy as he thinks, but instead I ask him his name and say I’ll remember it for when he beomes famous. I tell him good luck again. I still don’t get the other book I want. Dang annoying man.

I forget his name even before I get to my car. I leave feeling quite annoyed and intruded upon. All I had wanted was a few minutes to myself to get a small errand accomplished. All I had managed to do was become frustrated. Then I feel badly for having been so annoyed at him. I could have been more helpful. Maybe, I should have basked in his enthusiasm and caught the creativity bug.  Why do I not feel inspired? Am I capable of  approaching writing with that kind excitement and confidence? Maybe, I can learn something from this encounter.

And then I wonder if that was some kind of bookstore pick up line, and I was just too stupid to catch it. And if it wasn’t and he becomes famous, I won’t know his name to claim he once tried to pick me up in a bookstore.

39 thoughts on “Bookstore Encounter

    • Ha, Cindy! Have I really gotten too old and dumb to recognize a pick up line?! I was so annoyed at the time…then I felt badly to have not given full attention to someone asking for advice. Now, I think it’s kind of funny!

  1. I love bookstores as well. But my last few visits have ended about like yours! People entering into my personal space…

    Did they publish it somewhere that bookstores are the new ‘bars’ for pickups?

    Now I’ve got to trade the smell and feel of book perusing for online Amazon?

  2. Thank you for a big smile to start my day.

    You are not too old … I bet, if the advice he was seeking appeared to be real to you, if his comments would have sounded knowledgeable, you would not have been annoyed and you would have taken him seriously.

    Your inner sense knows when someone is in genuine need … he wasn’t.

    Strange encounters are not always welcome .. but, they usually leave you with a tale to tell. I enjoyed your tale. (I am glad it was a safe encounter)

  3. Quite honestly from the way you describe this guy he sounds more like either someone not quite right in the head or a completely lonely man looking for someone to talk to about anything.

    Either way, I think you were best off leaving and escaping as you did.

    But then again I could be totally wrong and find myself one of millions reading his first mystery/romance thriller one day 🙂

  4. I think he was “twackin” you! Yes, you totally didn’t get that he was trying to pick you up. Next he would have been asking you to duck between the shelves somewhere! LOL

    You need to start taking Dirtman to run interference at the bookstore.

  5. I guess it was what it was, an encounter with a somewhat kooky stranger at Barned & Noble. Maybe he did find you attractive but was just not suave enough to be engaging. You’re probably chasing off would-be suitors all the time, right?

  6. Interesting. Could have been a pick up line, could have been something else. When random people come into our sphere of being I find that it is rarely random and that the person is there for a reason. You did what many of us do in this situation you became agitated and leery of this stranger. I would be interested to know what his purpose was for you or what your purpose was for him. No regrets though, the lessons we miss always return.

  7. How funny! Now I have something to laugh about all day! He sounds like he was so irritating. And, he wasn’t very good at picking up that you weren’t interested in conversation. Irritating and dumb, not a good combination to have when a guy’s trying to pick up women!

  8. Sommmmmmmebody was flirting with you! Hahahaha. First Mystery/Romance writing….oh, boy – – that is funny.

  9. This man sounds a little like my son, who has Asperger’s syndrome (a mild form of autism). In which case he wasn’t trying to pick you up, but just be friendly and have a conversation, but unfortunately didn’t get your hints to stop because you weren’t direct enough. (The part about he hasn’t started writing yet, but he has been researching and believes he has the talent without actually trying to do it yet sounds just like my son.)

    • And if this was someone with Asperger’s syndrome (and I am not informed enough to have recognized it), I feel even worse fro brushing him off. I wish I had this guy’s enthusiasm to get started on my next project. The key to success is proabably the ability to dive in and not wear yourself down with perfectionism as I often do.

  10. Maybe he was doing some field research for the plot in his his best-selling novel in the mystery/romance genre! In any case, he got you thinking about your views on writing. Oh, yeah, and he was definitely flirting.

  11. I don’t know, I heard the book store was the new meat market. 🙂

    I would have asked him to help you find the book real sweet like, once he found it, he’s the hero. You hit the door – running. 🙂

  12. Ahhh, yes, grasshopper, he was there to teach you something. But what?

    So many teachers. Each moment. Frictions to our smoothly gliding orbits of fun and relaxation.

    I have so not books in like, way over a year.

    But I have succumbed to the Godiva dark chocolate raspberry bars beckoning from the cashier stands as I hasten through the store towards the Starbucks.



  13. 🙂 I think you are cute.

    I think you have handled it the exact way it should have been handled and you did it right because you are a good person inside and out.

  14. Aw Suzi! Isn’t it funny when we replay a scene in our head after the fact. That is totally something I would have done. Walked away grumbling, only to have someone point out that it was all a pick-up line. Mystery/Romance indeed! Ha!

  15. I always end up talking to strangers where ever we go, Cindy laughs because it seems I always find someone who wants to talk–maybe it’s the accent 🙂

    Not sure if any tried to pick me up, probably not because Cindy didn’t hand over my bags Ha Ha

    Sounds like you made a Friend Susan, you just may need to go back and see if he has started writing yet 😉

  16. Whatever his intent, whatever his reason – he gave you fodder for a blog post. It would be interesting to know what his intentions really were. But hey – go with the pick-up line thing. That’s one of those “Wow! I’m still desirable to someone besides Dirt Man” things. Something I’m sure is very very true.

  17. First of all, he would have found you gorgeous and hoped to linger in your aura for a little longer. Secondly, I think we broadcast more about ourselves than we realise, so he would have known, if only on an intuitive level that you knew a thing or two about books. What a thrill for the guy a good-looking book lover. Woo hoo!.
    Thirdly, he very well could be the next JK Rowlings of the romance suspense world, and you’ll bump into him signing books (in Barnes and Noble perhaps) and he’ll remember you, and still find you beautiful and ask you out for a coffee, and this time maybe you’ll say…..?
    Great post.
    x Lisa

  18. How funny! Well maybe not at the time.
    Girl you was soo getting hit on! But I am like you, I would have never caught it, cause I like to get what I’m doing done with no interuptions. Either that or he was a little off. I just have never heard of someone just deciding to be a writer, without having some love for writing. To me that is just weird.

  19. I used to work in a bookstore and trust me, he’d probably already exhaulted the staff with his big plans. I used to get sucked into these conversations all the time, simply because I was the only one nice enough to listen and not walk off. But he doesn’t sound as annoying as the self published authors who can’t understand why we aren’t selling more of their books. They’re convinced the staff just doesn’t know genius when they see it.

    It’s possible he had Aspbergers. If he did then you did the nicest thing possible by not just blowing him off so don’t feel bad. It’s not easy to recognize unless you know someone who has it.

    Go! Write! Win!


  20. That was my first guess here -that he was trying to hit on you. But then… well, he sounded a bit nutty. Although that may only be the way you wrote him that makes me imagine him as being a bit of a mad oddball.
    I don’t think that there was anything wrong with the way you acted, though – you weren’t mean, you didn’t put him down and you didn’t call him on his cockiness. Although I think he deserved all that if you’d have done it, if ONLY because bookstore experiences are supposed to be good, calming and soothing, not flustering and bothersome.

  21. Hilarious! I feel like you so seldom get annoyed (or express it) this is very funny. I’ve had a smaller tolerance lately for people invading someone else’s space and especially droning on about themselves…all about them. Then again, maybe he was just lonely and socially inept. Maybe he should start with a book on the top 78 ways to annoy strangers.

  22. Wow… what a story. I frequent all bookstores all of the time, but I have never been approached by anyone. I can’t believe that happened to you… I love people who talk about writing and have never written a single word.

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