Confessions of a Book Voyeur


I used to think I was a freak.  In the age of the internet I now realize that, though I am pretty unique in my life perspective, I have light years to travel before I deserve the moniker of “freak”.  I have no major fetishes to speak of.  While I love sex and variation within my sex life, my sex never includes any bodily fluids other than the expected, no animal costumes nor anything that requires power tools. I’m rarely caught on film being pugilistic, I harbor no major prejudices, I’m not prone to conspiratorial thinking (except the Chupacabra, that shit is real) and political debates don’t agitate me though they are a good excuse to agitate others.

booksMy secret, festering in nights of shame just recently risen to the daylight – I am a book voyeur.  It started harmlessly enough.  There was story hour at the library, the bookmobile, a childhood spent sitting at the tops of trees reading.  Over time, I developed what amounts to a mild obsession but an obsession nonetheless.  My time in bookstores became longer until I was spending entire days ensconced in stacks.  Soon those aisles of towering tomes were no longer capable of holding my attention and I found my bibliophilia slipping into the every day moments of life.

I can’t help but look at the cover of a book as I pass.  Walking into a telephone pole or traffic is a definite possibility when traversing the more literate areas.  I’ve been known to tie my shoe for the chance at a glance of what someone is reading.  Stretching, picking up a quarter I “accidentally” dropped and faking a seizure… nothing is too extreme to get my fix.  I’ve followed unsuspecting readers past my stop and have knocked novels from hands in a faux fit of Tourette’s in order to see what people are feeding their minds with.

This all came to a head on the bus the other day when I sat next to a 20-something redhead.  Despite my attempts to keep my eyes focused on the aisles, like a compass towards magnetic north, my eyes eventually wandered the width of the bus with slow deliberation until they were studying the pages… the chapter name, page number and eventually the text itself.  My pulse quickened when I realized it was about literary studies.  A few more paragraphs and my breathing started coming in ragged gasps.  It was not just about literature but linguistics!  I finished the page and literally had to sit on my hands while I waited for her to catch up, my bottom lip gripped firmly between my teeth in anticipation.    Once the page was turned I was like a horse as the gates open at the start of a race, bolting down the lines with my eyes.  It started dawning on me that this was linguistics in a historical context.  This was no mere book on language.  This was a book on philology!!!!  The blood emptied from every capillary below my neck and left for an abrupt vacation in my head.  I started swooning, everything in the bus fading into a grey fog but those onyx characters on eggshell.  I leaned in to absorb them until my head was hovering at a 45 degree angle just above her shoulder.

Suddenly broken from her reading reverie and realizing how close I was, she quickly leaned to her left until stopped by the window.  “What are you doing?!“, she said in a distinctly Ukrainian accent, just short of hysterics.  She twisted her body to face me, the book I was so desperately trying to absorb now her shield against any possible advances.

It was at this moment that I realized how I must have looked – glassy of eye, red of face, heavy of breath.  I my excitement, a sheen of sweat had covered my engorged cheeks and forehead.  I imagined I was looking like a cherry tomato after the rain in that moment.  I could not bring myself to tell the truth, even to myself at that point.  Spinning mechanisms in my head swung through innumerable combinations of excuses in rapid-fire succession. With a final click they landed on “I was trying to look down your shirt.

Once the words were out, it was too late to stop the avalanche of consequences.  I did not get to finish the “Naming the Rainbow” chapter and I’m no longer allowed to ride the #44 into downtown.  The court-mandated treatment program says that I both have to wear blinders in public and can not be within 10 feet of a book that I’m not currently reading.  I have no doubts this affliction with soon evaporate from my character.  I’m starting to feel much better already…. really.

Advertisements

Whacha wanna say?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s