I was sitting at Panera, munching on a sandwich and reading a book (eating and reading at the same time takes a special kind of talent … I’m still working on it.)
There are couples out to lunch, families talking and people with headphones on sitting in front of computers. In walks a young woman — maybe about my age. She sits at the table across from me, talking loudly on her phone in yoga pants carrying a huge bag. Her hair is piled in a messy bun on top of her head, big sunglasses stuck in it. For about 15 minutes I have to suppress the urge to roll my eyes as she talks animatedly on her cell to one of her friends. She seems to be the complete opposite of me, sitting by myself quietly reading and drinking coffee. But then her food comes and she puts the cellphone away. And pulls out of her bag … a book. And there we are, two seemingly different women, sitting across from each other quietly reading and eating.
Because, really, book readers are everywhere. Anyone can be a reader, no matter what they do and no matter what they look like. It was a comforting moment, being not the only one in that Panera, at that moment who found simple pleasure getting lost between the pages of a novel.