Thursday, January 08, 2009

A Strange Encounter

Happy New Year everyone!

I'd like to share a strange experience I had the other day. I had a doctor’s appointment and after I signed in, I notice a lady was reading one of my books. This is an author’s dream, or at least it’s one of mine. I could hardly believe she was reading my book.

Now my dilemma. Should I say something? Heck yeah, was my instant response. So I nicely said, “Are you enjoying the book?”
“Yes,” she replied, without raising her head.
Well, I didn’t expect that. So I tried again.
“I wrote that book,” I continued.
“I know,” was her surprising answer, and again she didn’t look up.
My ego was starting to take a beating. Where was the gushing or praise or something beside "I know?"
Okay. I waited a minute and then asked, “Would you like a bookmark?”
“No, thanks.” Again she didn’t look at me.
Now this was just weird. And rude. This certainly wasn’t turning out the way I was expecting. Before I could gather my courage to ask another question, she was called back to see the doctor. She gathered her book, her purse and quickly left the room, never looking my way.
At this point my ego was in the dumpster. Maybe that dream wasn’t so great after all.

When it was my turn to see the doctor, I planned to ask the nurse about the lady, but I never got a chance. The nurse said, “Linda, you have to stop scaring our patients.” And then she told me a shocking story.
The lady was in her late thirties and she was born to parents in their late forties. She was an only child and home schooled. Evidently she had very little contact with the outside world. Her parents had passed away and her guardian was trying to introduce her to the real world by making her go out in public, on the advice of a psychologist. The lady is painfully shy and has a extremely difficult time talking to people. Her passion is books and she reads all the time. She orders and never goes into a store.

The nurse went on to say that the lady had ordered all my books and had really wanted to talk to me, but she couldn’t. I felt so bad about persisting with questions and I asked the nurse to apologize for me. She said that she would, but the doctors wanted people to talk to her. That made me feel a lot better. I left a bookmark for her and the nurse said the lady would be excited to get it.

The situation didn't turn out the way I'd envisioned (have to wait for the gushing and praise), but I came away with a deep appreciation for other people’s feelings. I can’t even imagine living in that kind of fear.

How about you? Have you had any strange encounters?

Linda
www.lindawarren.net
Mar ’09 - The Sheriff of Horseshoe, Texas

13 comments:

Trish Milburn said...

Wow, what a story, Linda. I hope she continues to get more comfortable with the world around her, and I'm glad you got an explanation that didn't leave you feeling bad.

Colleen Thompson said...

Meeting a reader in the wild has been one of my dreams too. I hope that your reader someday finds the courage to speak. Glad you handled it so well.

Linda Warren said...

Trish,
Yes, I was glad I got an explanatiom. I just kept thinking how rude is this. Tell me you hate it or tell me you like, but ignoring me was a new one.

The nurse said the lady was shaking when she went back. That's what made me feel so bad. I've never made anyone shake in my life. I'm really not a scary person.

I'm glad the lady is getting help and venturing out into world.
Linda

Linda Warren said...

Colleen,
The guardian is evidently working very hard to make the lady more self-sufficient. I feel so sad for her, but she is making progress. A year ago, the nurse said, the lady would sit in her car until the doctor was ready to see her. They'd call her on a cell the guardian had purchased for her.

Thank you for stopping by.
Linda

Sara said...

What a sad way to live...and I think that even though you don't think you helped her by talking to her - I think you probably helped in some way...At least she did answer you - and that must have been really, really hard for her.

Linda Warren said...

Sara,
Thank you. That makes me feel better. I felt so bad about pestering her after I heard her story.
Linda

Megan Kelly said...

Linda, I never got this close, but I work in a bookstore and have witnessed people buying my book. My niece emailed me that when she was getting her hair done, a woman was reading my book--for her bookclub! So she got my experience. lol It was nice to hear someone was reading my book "in the wild," as Colleen put it.

Linda Warren said...

Megan,
Isn't that a wonderful feeling?
If I worked in a bookstore, I'd probably get fired for having my head in a book all the time. lol
It must be great watching someone buy you book.
Linda

PJ Mellor said...

Hi, Linda--I was thrilled to see a woman reading my first book in the Denver airport, but I was too terrifed to speak to her. You're very brave! I feel sorry for anyone who has such a fear as your reader, but I have to wonder how she knew it was your book? P.J. Mellor

Linda Warren said...

Hi PJ,
The nurse told her about my books when she first became a patient and learned she loved to read. She also told her I was in a wheelchair. She has been to my Web site and she checks it all the time for new books. She saw my photo there and she knew who I was when I came in and spoke to the receptionist.
Life is strange...sometimes...or maybe all the time.
Thanks, PJ, for stopping in.
Linda

Ann Roth said...

Wow, Linda. What a story! I feel for that woman, and am glad you got the story of why she reacted as she did.
Thank you for sharing with us.

Linda Warren said...

Ann,
I feel for her, too. I just never thought of people living in that kind of fear. She's making progress and that's good. I'm hoping one day she can overcome her fears.
Linda

kimmyl said...

You probably made the woman's day just being there.