Tuesday, March 12, 2013

A Guy With A Book On A Bus

Years ago, when I was living in Houston, I took the bus every day from my apartment near the Houston Post building to downtown. It was a short commute and I almost always got a little reading in during the commute. Lots of people read and one of the most memorable was a guy I saw nearly every day. He was the kind of guy I'm most inclined to notice – big, muscular, always dressed in work clothes, blue jeans with a t-shirt or sweatshirt. He carried a lunch pail and he always had a book. I noticed him because a.) he was the sort of guy I notice, and b.) he read interesting books.

The first time I noticed him was one morning when we were directly across from each other. He had dark hair and heavy dark eyebrows and a tough-looking, sober face. During the entire ride he never looked up from the paperback he was absorbed in, On the Road by Jack Kerouac. I appreciated his choice. He got off the bus a couple stops before mine at a construction site. He stood up, stuffed the book in his hip pocket, picked up his lunch pail and jumped off the bus without ever glancing up. After that first notice, I saw him often. He always had a book and his books were always mass market paperbacks that looked pretty beaten up, like he got them in a thrift shop.

During the time we commuted on the same bus he read Herman Wouk's The Winds of War, James Jones' From Here to Eternity, a lot of James Clavell and Norman Mailer, some Henry Miller. I sometimes wondered if he chose the books specifically or if he just read what was available to him. Sometimes when I saw him reading a book I loved I wanted to talk to him but he didn't look like the talking type. The truth is, in the several years that we both rode that bus, we never said a word to each other.

I thought about this because there have been a lot of pictures on Facebook and other such sites lately of fine looking men, lost in a book. I appreciate them and they made me remember a guy on a bus from long ago. Reading is sexy. An attractive man completely lost in a great book is very sexy. And very memorable.

Thanks for reading.


  1. What a great post! I felt like I was riding along with you. You're right, a man lost in a book is a good thing. I tutored some tough high school kids one time who told me it wasn't cool to be caught with books. How awesome for a man to change that perception. Great blog!


  2. Beautifully written 2/3 of a short story. Everything but the ending. On the other hand, I am an idiot to look for what I look for.
    John Klawitter

    P.S. Thanks for the instructions on how to sell ebooks directly. Well done!

  3. Thank you very much. I'd love to know where that guy is now.


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