Today the deep-seated cold that has been chilling my bones finally lifted. It reached the 60s, and the outdoors was a welcome sight. So I took a book that I have been re-reading out to the square, and purposefully sat out of the line of tourist traffic. The idea was to quietly sit on a bench, enjoy the fresh air and entertain myself with a story.
I was barely able to become engrossed in the tale when a man, I would guess in his mid-30s, walked by with his yellow lab. I always look at dogs, and this guy took my brief glance as an opportunity to speak to me. The moment he opened his mouth, it was clear he was already well into his Saturday drinking binge. He barely managed to slur his questions about if I lived here and which square was Telfair. The alcohol must have also made it hard for him to pick up the giant hints that I had no intention of having any further conversation. He finally went on his way and pretending to let the dog wander so he could stare some more.
A few minutes later an unlikely bike gang entered the square. It was a group of 40-something tourists who had rented or borrowed bikes, which would have been fine. But then the “Guys in the group decided to do Indy 500 laps around the central vegetation in the square. Now, technically you are not allowed to ride your bikes through the squares. It is posted on all sides, but people do it anyway. But this was a new level of asinine adolescent behavior. I let them alone for a few laps, hoping they would get it out of their systems, but the equally silly women just egged them on. So I finally just yelled out and they blew by, “You’re not really supposed to be riding your bikes in the square.” They sort of said, “oh” and went back to their women, snickered, then proceeded to go the wrong way down a one way street.
Finally, I think I may find a few minutes of solitude when a scraggly looking man with a bike walks up, and says something unintelligible. He asks me if I have something, did I bring something with me. I said, “I’m sorry, I don’t understand,” and tried to return to my book. But then he puts his bike on its stand, and takes another step toward me and says he needs help because his pants are falling down and he wants me to fix it and starts yanking at his pants. At that point I realize he is completely unhinged and firmly say, “No, sir, I am sorry.” I get up and walk away, defeated in my quest to read a book in the sun.
Why is it no one thinks anything of interrupting the reading of a book? If we see someone on a cell phone, we wait until they are done. Wives everywhere know to not try to speak to their husbands when the game is on. Why are books so far down the social totem pole?