Yeah, so like, I met this guy at the bookstore when I was going there to buy books for my classes. He was pretty tall and, I’m not sure, but he looked sort of Asian, you know? Like he was half or something. You could sort of tell. You know what I mean?
Anyway, he was in the English section and he asked me what class I was taking and I was like, UWP 1, and he was like, You an English major? and I was like, No, I have to take it because it’s required, and he was like, Ah, I see, and I was like, Yeah, I don’t really like reading. Apparently he didn’t like that because he gave me this look, and I was like, Sorry? but I didn’t really say that.
Apparently he was an English major but I didn’t know that until later, when we were in line to buy our books. We were both waiting in line and I was like, You have a lot of books, and he was like, Yup, and I was like, Apparently I just have to buy these two, and he was like, I see that.
Apparently something faraway was interesting because he was looking in a different direction and so I was like, What’s your major? and he said English. I was like, Just English? and he was like, Yup. Just English, and I was like, What are you going to do after graduation? because it’s like, what do English majors do? You know? But anyway he was all like, I’m going to maintain my current lifestyle with prostitution, and for a second I was thinking like, Uhhh, this is SO awkward. Like, I wasn’t really sure if he was serious or not, because he was acting all serious and after he said it he just kept looking at the cash registers, so I wasn’t really sure. I don’t really know how to explain it. It was just sort of hard to tell. You know what I mean?
And so then after that I took a magazine and started perusing it for something funny to read. Apparently there was some stuff about politics and some other long articles but I just skipped those because I wanted something funny to read and nothing too serious. The line was moving so slow that after like a minute the guy was like, I thought you didn’t read, and I was like, Oh, just perusing some magazines.
Then he was like, Just so you know. The main definition of the word ‘peruse’ is to read thoroughly, not to browse. When he said that I was thinking like, Wow, this guy is such an asshole, but instead I was like, Do you work for the library or something? The guy was like, I write for the newspaper, but mainly I just read books, and so I was like, What kind of books? and he was like, Mostly fiction. Novels. Short stories. I thought that was kind of weird so I was like, Are all novels fiction? and he was like, Yup, and I was kind of mad at that point so I was like, I don’t see what’s the point about reading about something if it’s not real.
And then I said something else that I was thinking about for a while but I didn’t feel like saying until then, and so I was all like, By the way, you talk slow.
But apparently it was funny because he laughed and afterwards he was like, It’s better than the alternative, and I was like, What’s that? and he was like, Can I ask you a question? and I was like, What? and he was like, Do you think when you talk? and I was like, What do you mean? and he was like, If you listened to yourself when you spoke, you would learn something.
Before I could say anything he apparently had an idea because he said, I have an idea. Do me a favor and read the paper on Monday, on page two. I was like, You’re writing something just for me? and he was like, Absolutely not. Many people have the same problem.
Then the bookstore clerk was like, Next! and the guy began to walk away, so very quickly I was like, What do you mean about a problem? So then the guy turned and he was like, The problem is you sound like a fool. Then he threw his head back and laughed for like an hour before he bought his books and left.
So like, yeah. Total asshole. And you know what? I tried to read his column on Monday and guess what? It was so boring. Like so boring. So like, yeah.
KOJI FRAHM’s columns have appeared in The Bedpan and The Celibate’s Guide to Pregnancy. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. This is his first novel.