What I like about the USA is the diversity of people you see there. The following short and weird conversation took place a couple of years ago. I wrote about it on my blog, but was shy to publish it not just because of the conversation itself, but also because of what went through my head at the time.
One day at Starbucks, I sat on one of those big tables that seat about six people. I was working on my laptop. A middle-aged woman sat on the opposite side of the table and as soon as she opened her laptop, she started a conversation with me:
Woman: Are you writing a book?
Me: No, I am working on my dissertation.
Woman: I am writing a book. It is difficult to concentrate in public, especially when you are writing something inappropriate.
Me [not paying attention what she meant by inappropriate]: What is your book about?
Woman: It is a novel like Fifty Shades of Gray. My husband told me to write about the events that happened when we went to Las Vegas and Reno.
Fifty Shades of Gray was the bestselling book at that time. Actually, it was a phenomenon not just a bestselling book. Everybody was talking about it in America. I did not read it, but one of our lab mates during our weekly meeting told us what it was about for whatever reason. As I mentioned, the book took unprecedented publicity.
Of course, after she said “It is a novel like Fifty Shades of Gray. My husband told me to write about the events that happened when we went to Las Vegas and Reno.” My brain, sort of, switched off because I cannot recall what she said next or even what I said.
My conservative self felt uncomfortable and I did not want to hear any more. Because of the way she dressed and how open she was about the content of her book, I was afraid our conversation may lead to something I do not like. I thought she might invite me to go with her, we will meet her husband and I will be involved in a Ménage à trois (I learned this from Seinfeld). I thought they wanted materials for their book and this will be it. All this went through my head, seriously. That is why I don’t recall what she said after she mentioned Reno.
I looked at my watch and said, “I have to meet someone. Nice talking to you” and I had the fastest exit from Starbucks. All these weird thoughts popped up in my head without even reading Fifty Shades of Gray. What thoughts would I have had if I read it?
This was one of the weirdest conversations with a stranger I had.