Geographically Challenged

Back in the day I used to go a local pub that had  ‘award winning’ bangers and mash on the menu,  even the staff didn’t know anything about this award, and the meal wasn’t up to much anyway.

The day was sunny, but I was sulky.  This had to do with my usual reading table being occupied, as well as my back up reading table.  Making do with a different view and some less than satisfactory light and shooing away a work colleague who wanted to chat on a day off, I settled down to my book, accompanied by a pint of mediocre bitter.

The book in question was Hugh Thomas‘, The Conquest of Mexico. This is a weighty tome detailing how the Spanish came to the Americas and into great depth on the titular conquest itself.

I slowly became aware of a chap in my peripheral vision who seemed to be bobbing up and down whilst facing my direction.  In the end I made the mistake of looking. He was stood up but was contorting his body in an uncomfortable manner in an attempt to read the title on the spine of my book.

Making eye contact – a big mistake – he decided this was an invitation to join me.  Amiable as I was back in the day, I was happy to chat with someone who showed an interest in books.  The conversation started well as he commented not many people read in pubs, especially in our town.

The next forty-five minutes were, bizarrely, taken up with a conversation about the Incas despite the guy leafing through the book, not to mention my repeated references to the text, the Aztecs and the remnants of the Maya, and to Mexico, itself.

After that reading there was never the same and I found myself a new regular reading pub where nobody showed the least interest in books or myself, which was bliss.

23 Replies to “Geographically Challenged”

  1. Even if this was a few years ago, the way you shared your memories has taken me back with you. Do you still remember the name of the person you were chatting with?


    1. I don’t recall, he gave me his phone number but I never got in touch as I think I lost the nuumber, plus you know me, I like my solitude, even in public. The pub in question was the one where you had your first lasagna in England.


  2. This sounds like an interesting book and thanks for sharing your pub experience.

    I often notice that when people are alone with books in pubs, there is an assumption that it is because they are lonely and it is just their pretence to make friends with someone. Those who love reading books in public places know that this is not true but it is impossible to convince extroverts who frequent pubs for socialising only otherwise. My perfect place would be some public place like a café where many people are engrossed in their own books and everyone is part of this place but also happy with their own solitude and with their books – unfortunately, there is no such thing.


    1. The book ha a ton of depth but never gets bogged down and dull. It’s weighty but I got through a decent amount, especially after a few pints. Weirdly I retain good memory even after three pints.

      I would love to join you in your café were it a real thing, and I guarantee that apart from a vigorous wave, I wouldn’t bother you at all, as long as you held up our book cover for to take care of my curiosity.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t mind it on planes if I am going a really long distance but for short flights, I buckle up and hide behind the covers. Talkers can be a nightmare at times.


  3. Ha-Reading in public can be dicey. Then again, Book Boosters do attract others of likened disposition. Cheers to great reading memories.


    1. I’ll drink to that! I tend to be left alone most of the time but that was a strange experience that came to mind recently, as long as it amuses you then it was worth the cringe of the time.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Its nice to sit and read a book when theres no around to bother you.
    I enjoy reading a book on the cliffs overlooking the sea in Cornwall.
    Which I have not done for a while.


  5. Oh, this is snort-inducing. Never, never, never interrupt a reader who is reading. Clearly, this gentleman had no sense of boundaries. And the set-up you gave us for this experience was perfect, the mediocrity of food and drink…the table selection. Perfect!


    1. Table selection is key for me, I like to be able to see what’s going on sometimes but I need good light and also to be a decent distance away from people. Back up tables are also essential in my view. Reading out is more of a military exercise on reflection…

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I like to be alone with my books, if I wanted to chat about them I would join a book club. Sadly no pubs for me in recent years but I still sneak in my reading where I can.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I don’t know why, but sometimes he busyness in the background can create a sort of tranquility when reading. I find it nice when I am able to successfully blur it out. I had to do this often when reading in school. I also really don’t like being disrupted either, so I feel your irritation.


    1. It is a source of wonder that we can filter out any noise and be lost in the words that have happily imprisioned our minds. The only thing worse is having sleep interrupted.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I am familiar with the experience you mention, that of having what any rational person would interpret as signifying a desire for privacy interpreted instead as an invitation to the all-season, all-out, no-holds-barred chatfest. And yet, if you respond by saying something like “You know, I was just sitting here reading my book. I’m sorry, but I would like to continue doing that; I’m not really in the mood for conversation, if you don’t mind,” then YOU’RE the one being rude!


    1. The best thing anyone can do to keep my attention would be to get my another pint or coffee in. Sadly these days I am a little less tolerant on my time being taken up, well I would be but I can’t remember the last time I was reading in a pub so it must have been some years back. Why the Incas were of such a focus on that particular day though is anyone’s guess.


    1. I wouldn’t have minded had he offered to buy me a pint! Reading is usually a clear indicator that we don’t want to be disturbed, a friendly wave is acceptable though.

      Liked by 1 person

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