Strangers

February 2nd 2022

Today I had an incredibly pleasant human experience with two complete strangers in a Waterstones.

I’d walked into town as I’d had a craving for sushi (it turns out I don’t like sushi), and while I was there popped into Waterstones to look for a book I’d been recommended.

It’s called “Before the coffee gets cold” by a Japanese author named Toshikazu Kawaguchi. I had no idea if Waterstones would stock it, but thankfully it did. It actually stocked both of them. Apparently there’s a sequel, so I picked that up too.

I took them both to the counter and the clerk began to absolutely beam at me, and then raved about how good the book is. That bodes well. She told me that she’d read the first one last week and was desperate to read the follow-up as soon as she could.

She was such an incredibly positive and infectiously happy person that it completely disarmed my usual quiet, grumpy attitude to talking to strangers.

And then it happened again.

After I’d paid for my books, I left the till and a middle aged woman was waiting for me. She asked me what books I’d just bought, as she’d heard the clerk and I raving about it. Turns out she’d heard of Before the coffee gets cold too, and had come in to buy it the week before but it was out of stock.

I apologised, as I think I’d just bought the only one on the shelf again.

Ordinarily, I avoid talking to strangers, but this was just a precious and beautiful moment with two people I’m never going to see again. And it was quite pleasant.

Until tomorrow, thanks for the recommendation.

James

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