As a comparative literature student and a self-proclaimed book-nerd, I often find myself in situations and conversations with people who do not like to read (at all). These conversation tend to range from very serious to hilarious, and I am sure many of you can relate to these type of situation. I would like to share and take a look in the world of ‘a reader’, and share one of my stories every week.
This week’s story outlines a situation that I have encountered a few times.
Occasionally, I ask a non-reader why he or she does not read. Not because I want to persuade people who do not read into reading. I am just genuinely curious about their answers and I will definitely do my best to understand. There are a lot of answers to this question, and most of the time these conversations are pretty fun. Nevertheless, once in a while I encounter someone who appears to be offended by these type of questions. Very Rarely, someone gets REALLY offended. This happened a few weeks ago, while I talked to someone I just met. He told me he did not like to read. So, I asked him why:
Collocutor: Why do you ask!? What do you mean by that?
Me: I am just curious. I don’t mean anything with it.
Collocutor: I can just as well ask you why you DO read.
Me: Yes you can, I would be happy to answer that question.
(Ten seconds of silence)
Collocutor: That is not what this is about. And I don’t have to be ashamed that I am not a reader.
Me: Well that is not what I am implying at all. Just curious.
Collocutor: You don’t have to go smart-ass on me, just because I don’t read. I am not less smart than you, I might even be smarter.
I was not stating anything about who is smart or not and I was definitely not rude to him. I was just trying to get into a polite conversation. Also, I was a little sorry I asked, because he seemed to get a little aggressive about it.
Me: I am sorry if that’s what you think I meant, but I was just asking. Didn’t mean anything with it.
Collocutor: Yes you do, you are trying to prove something.
Me: And what exactly might that be?
Collocutor: That you are better, because you read those stupid books. People who read are boring. You are boring. You try to hide it by proving I am dumb, that is not going to work.
The ‘reading is for boring people’-statement I have heard many times, in many forms. So, I am not even shocked by this in particular. I am just a little stunned because this guy seems to get more and more aggressive about it by the minute. To be honest, I am happy to leave it as it is. Luckily for me, the conversation didn’t last long.
Still, I was stunned. Why was this guy so offended? I love reading, but that does not mean I will treat people who do not read differently.