I love reading in bars. Especially books. It’s an uncommon habit, but I would love it if more people understood my love for this activity. I usually read books, but newspapers and magazines seem a little more conventional. Reading and drinking– what a perfect twofer.
Coffee shops are always packed with grad students, freelances, and other people reading and studying. Why aren’t bars the same way?
Sometimes I get nervous when I do it, like people are watching me and making judgements. I feel my face getting warm and my vision narrows. I make jumpy eye contact.
Am I an asshole because I read in bars? Do I even care? I don’t know why I get so nervous. Next time I do it, I’m going to move slowly and confidently, making everything an act of deliberation. With dignity and self-respect, and with a deep attention to the moment. I’m going to look people in the eye and speak confidently and clearly. A person’s eyes show the strength of his soul. My eyes will convey a casual confidence to whoever catches it. Everything will be done with attention, clarity, decisiveness, and grace.
I will get my drink and sit quietly. If anyone asks what I’m reading, I will speak slowly and unselfconsciously. I will be interested only in the other person, and I will feel no need to make excuses or offer nervous explanations as to why I’m reading a particular book.
In an age when nobody seems to read anymore, they fact that you’re reading probably piques their curiosity, and they want to learn more about you. Let them learn.