I don’t know if there’s anything worse then someone constantly talking to you while you’re obviously trying to read. I’m working on a theory, it goes something like this:
The ratio of “how good the book”, is equal to the ratio of “how talkative the person” and often, how boring the subject they seem so intent to talk about. I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve been reading a book on the bus, in the staff room, in a coffee shop, and been constantly interrupted by someone, often a total stranger. The range of topics is everything from how much laundry they have to do tonight, to how their sister-in-law is a vegetarian. Personally I don’t understand it. If I see someone else deeply engrossed in a book, I would put aside my desperate urge to babble about my Great Aunt Gertrude and how interesting her sock collection is. I’ve tried holding my book right up at eye level. Maybe they would see it and understand how intent I was on it. Or maybe if I can’t see them, they can’t see me, and they won’t try to talk to me. Guess what? It didn’t work. Apparently they just came to the conclusion I was near sited, and also REALLY wanted to hear all about how Great Uncle Bob’s toenail fungus is doing. (SO glad to hear he’s getting the treatment he needs.)
Perhaps I need a severe librarian following me around. She could stand behind my chair while I was reading, and whenever anyone looked like they were going to try to start some inane conversation, she could put her finger to her lips and go “Sssssh” in the way that only librarians can. It’s not that I don’t LIKE people, and it’s not that I don’t want to talk to them, it’s that, just when I’m at that part (YOU know the one I’m talking about), the part where the main character is about to be shot, or attacked by a shark, or have their father reveal to her that he’s ACTUALLY her mother, the person nearest to me decides he’d like to tell me all about his fabulous vacation in Maui.
I can relate to Julian Smith’s “Reading a Book”. I hope I don’t look that creepy, but I’m starting to understand the apparent rage he has seething under the surface when people interrupt him from reading the ending of “Peter Pan”. (Whatever happens to Captain Hook?) If you find yourself frequently irritated (or enraged) by people constantly interrupting your reading, I urge you to look up this video and have a laugh.
Friends have said to me, “Well, if it bothers you, why don’t you just ask them to please stop talking?” Why don’t I ask them to stop talking? Because I’m scared they’ll think I’m rude. On the other hand, I’m probably a ticking time bomb. I might let it build up inside of me until I finally throw down my book and stand up, hulk-like and roar, “Shut up! I’m reading…”