Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Vernon God Little, A Random Encounter That Isn't 'Orrible

I got slammed by one of the worst cases of hayfever I've ever had right before service today. Making coffee and welcoming customers through a fug of hayfever becomes a bit of a challenge. It came on suddenly and my current antihistamines just didn't work. Not a fun day.

However... Cool story time.

My new French side-kick (who accidentally called papadums badabooms) told me that yesterday after work she visited a music shop. She needed some tuning thingy for a guitar or something. We mostly understand each other but there are little gaps.

She has a band back home and she plays several stringed instruments. One is the violin. She got talking with the music shop owner and he let her play one of his violins. She started to play - first time in two months - and suddenly she started crying. Really sobbed it out because it made her miss playing and miss her band. "It was so beautiful," she told me, "but so 'orrible at the same time."

She told me this with her customary openness, and fuck me if it didn't make me tear up. I actually had to turn away and find something to do. I think tomorrow I'll tell her how much it affected me. I'm sure it was 'orrible for her at the time, but the story itself was, for me, just beautiful.

Then as she finished her shift today we chatted about what we were going to do with our respective evenings. I foresaw an evening of sneezing and miserableness but said something about the book I am reading. She asked what I was reading. I told her that it was a novel that she probably hadn't heard of, Vernon God Little. She didn't get the title at all, because of the language barrier. I told her about the awards it has won, uber impressive given that it was a first novel. She asked again about the title... she is genuinely interested in stuff. I explained that the character's name id Vernon Little, and that he seems to have put the God bit in there but I haven't gotten to the bit that explains why yet.

Suddenly her eyes widened.

"Eez it a red cover wiz a bus on ze cover?"

"Yes, that is what the cover looks like, I believe. It's in my bag. Let me get it out."

I took the book out and yes, this was the very same copy book she had found abandoned on the side of the road recently. She had picked it up and kept it, wondering if she should test her English by attempting to read it. Now, there was no question: she was definitely going to start reading it.

What are the odds, I wonder, of someone picking up a random book on the side of the road, and it being the very book your new employer/co-worker is reading? Of all the books ever published, of all the books discarded and recovered. A book published more than 10 years ago. And it's not a book that I once read, but am currently reading. What are the odds?

And that's my two nice stories of the day.

And I'm happy to say that the combination of behind the counter antihistamines, painkillers and icy vodka and orange have made the night turn out okay after all. Hayfever is ebbing. Tomorrow should be a good day.

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