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Bookish Pet Peeve #11: The Interrupter

beachreading

Imagine with me, if you will:

Crashing waves. Sandy beach. Shaded umbrella. Light breeze. Margarita. Entrancing novel. Maybe a dozing husband or wife by your side.

Is that your happy place? It’s one of mine.

But let’s add another element to that peaceful, serene setting.

“Hey there, what’cha readin’?”

That’s your cousin Barb. Your mom invited her to come with the family on vacation this year. She’s not a reader.

“It’s called 11/22/63 by Stephen King,” you respond with your head down.

“Oooh, he’s the scary writer, ain’t he? What’cha want to read something like that for? My Mikey, God bless his soul, he once said he read a horror fiction book by that Stephen King…was it called Kudos? Somethin’ ‘bout an angry dog?”

“Cujo, yeah.”

“Little Paulie got a new dog—cutest little thing. What’cha call it…a doodlegolden? Poops all over the carpet, like a little firehose is coming out of its rear end.”

“Huh. That’s nice.”

“So what are you and your sweet little hubby doin’ for dinner tonight?”

And on and on it goes. You get the picture.

What is it about readers—when we’ve found that perfect quiet place to read, we somehow manage to attract the chattiest, most annoying non-reader ever.

Books should be the equivalent of headphones. They should say “Don’t talk to me, I’m reading.” On top of that, reading on beach should give you double protection—that says, “Hey, I work all year long and I’m on vacation relaxing, reading a book. If I wanted to chat with you, I would be chatting with you. Leave me alone.”

But, for whatever reason, too many people don’t get the hint. I’m reading a book, Cousin Barb. I’m not up for small talk.

So this is PSA for all non-readers. If you see a reader who appears deeply engaged in a book, leave said reader alone. Let us be. Thank you.

Previous Bookish Pet Peeves

#11: The Coffee Shop Writer

#10: Book Trailers

#9: Snobby Authors

#8: Preachy Authors

#7: Buying Books I Don’t Read

#6: Speed Reading

#5: The Book Borrower

#4: The One Upper

#3: The Book Snob

#2: The Nosey Over-The-Shoulder Reader

#1: Bookstore Cellphone Blabbermouth

27 Comments Post a comment
  1. Reblogged this on fifteenthousandpages and commented:
    And once again, Robert Bruce over at 101 Books nails it right on the head.

    Liked by 1 person

    May 13, 2016
  2. I love this! I get that all the time, because I’ve always got a book with me. I usually lie when they ask me what it’s about and say it’s a mystery, because people understand that. Their eyes tend to glaze over when you say “It’s a modern reimagining of Camus’ ‘The Stranger.'” Then they tell you they read EVERYTHING Mary Higgins Clark has written and, wait, how can you never have read Jennifer Weiner?

    Like

    May 13, 2016
  3. Reblogged this on Moore to Say.

    Like

    May 13, 2016
  4. Yes! This happened to me this morning. Sitting in my car before work, windows down a little to let in a breeze, deeply engaged in my book. Then a coworker pulls up and starts chatting about what I am reading. My reading time is precious as a single, working mom of 3 kids, I take every snippet of time I can to read.

    Liked by 1 person

    May 13, 2016
  5. Lol I’m always victim to this. Maybe I have too much of an inviting look.

    Like

    May 13, 2016
  6. I hate that too. Especially older people who think you’re evil if you read fantasy.

    Liked by 1 person

    May 13, 2016
  7. My own beloved spouse does this to me. I’m nose-deep and a book and we wants to show me something happening in his videogame or tell me what dumb thing his coworker posted on Facebook (which, people telling me all the things they saw on Facebook is another huge peeve). And then gets his feelings hurt when I go to another room to read, haha. We’ve been together for over a decade now, you’d think the dear man would have come to terms with the whole ‘reading’ thing.

    Liked by 1 person

    May 13, 2016
  8. E #

    Yes. TOTALLY. I get this EVERY SINGLE DAY. Or people trying to read over your shoulder – aaaargh.

    Liked by 1 person

    May 13, 2016
  9. I thought of this at your last line: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BuRuwR2JSXI

    Like

    May 13, 2016
  10. You have SO nailed this one, Robert. Thanks!!!

    Like

    May 13, 2016
  11. Yup, I can identify with this!! I do love to chat but when I have a book with me, please let me read 🙂

    Like

    May 13, 2016
  12. That’s why I don’t read in public. Too many distractions.

    Like

    May 13, 2016
    • Unless it’s Blood Meridian. Then if someone asks what it’s about, I just say hanging dead babies from trees.

      Like

      May 13, 2016
  13. When I read “cousin Barb” I went back and started reading this like the Ketchup Advisory Board “commercials” from Prairie Home Companion.

    Like

    May 13, 2016
  14. People used to do this to me on trains when I commuted to work. Of course, I would welcome a conversation with a friendly stranger about the book I am reading, but not just as an excuse for them to start randomly talking about totally unrelated things!

    Like

    May 13, 2016
  15. Chañel Robie #

    This always happens to me

    Like

    May 13, 2016
  16. I go to the beach. Alone in a crowd. People may take furtive looks at the cover of the book, but those people are readers. No one bothers me. This isn’t friendly Nebraska, after all!

    Like

    May 14, 2016
  17. C’mon! It is the beach, after all. It’s breezy, after all. You’re downin’ margaritas, after all. An’ it’s Stephen King, after all. You’re open ears tell your cousin Barb, who’s family and bored to death, you’re fair game. So put in your earbuds to zero volume and read your book. Nobody bugs you then. 🙂

    Like

    May 14, 2016
  18. Is that really your cousin? Sounds bad, but not as bad as my friend, who asked her niece what her favourite book was and got the answer, “Oh, I don’t really read!” followed by inane giggling. “Am I really related to these people?” was what my friend wanted to know.

    Like

    May 15, 2016
  19. Trisha Jenn Loehr #

    YES! Thank you! I had a boss who did this to me on my lunch break. First – I have a book in front of me; I am not lonely, I am content. Secondly – I’m reading on my unpaid lunch break, boss, please leave me be.

    Like

    May 15, 2016
  20. I know what you mean – maybe you need to put on a pair of headphones too!

    Like

    May 20, 2016
  21. This me laugh out loud. But I don’t think the headphones work so well anymore. People just do not want to get that you want to be alone 🙂

    Like

    June 3, 2016
  22. Funny thing is this just happened to me last Saturday. A friend of a friend said it like I wasn’t there. “Why is she reading a book at the beach?” follow by his annoying laugh.

    Like

    June 7, 2016
  23. I divide my coworkers into two groups, interrupters and people I like. There are days I know I won’t be bothered on break and can bring an engrossing novel, there are others where I just grab a news paper or magazine, because at least then there’s no narrative flow to disrupt.

    Headphones don’t even work for the interrupters, they’ll stand next to you like a lost dog, gesturing towards their ears in a vague manner, desperate for you to listen to their complaints. I’ve started yelling things like “Gaga doesn’t have time for this!” They’re usually intimidated enough by Mother Monster to flee. If this fails I start spouting early 90’s rap lyrics in response to everything they say.

    Like

    July 30, 2016

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  1. My biggest pet peeve, beautifully summarized | Tales of a Student Affairs Educator

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