Tuesday, February 10, 2009

My dream job....

When asked what my dream job would be I could think of tons of answers, but my immediate answer is Travel Writer. It's no wonder, then, that I fell in love with Bill Bryson's books immediately. My first foray into Bill's world was with In a Sunburned Country about Australia. It wasn't until a few years later that I had the pleasure of listening to one of his books on CD. If you think his writing is funny, you should hear him read it in that almost deadpan voice of his. After hearing him read a book of his, you always hear his voice in the future.

Given that I hear his voice when reading his print, it's no wonder that I laughed out loud on the bus this morning when I read the following passage from Neither Here Nor There about his trips around Europe. He's found himself on a long transatlantic flight (back then it was hours and hours long) sitting next to a person who reminds me so much of where I grew up:

He spent most of the flight reading Holy Scripture, moving both sets of fingertips across each line of text as he read and voicing the words just loud enough for me to hear them as a fervent whisper in my right ear. I feared the worst. I don't know why religious zealots have this compulsion to try to convert everyone who passes before them - I don't go around trying to make them into St. Louis Cardinals fans, for crying out loud - and yet, they never fail to try.
Nowadays, when accosted I explain to them that anyone wearing white socks and Hush Puppies and a badge saying Hi! I'm Gus! probably couldn't talk me into getting out of a burning car, much less into making a lifelong commitment to a deity, and I ask them to send someone with a better dress sense next time. But back then I was too meek to do anything but listen politely and utter noncommittal "Hmmms" to their suggestions that Jesus could turn my life around. Somewhere over the Atlantic, as I was sitting taking stock of my two hundred cubic centimeters of person space, as one does on a long plane flight, I spied a coin under the seat in front of me, and with protracted difficulty leaned forward and snagged it. When I sat up, I saw my seatmate was at last looking at me with that ominous glow.
"Have you found Jesus?" he asked suddenly
"Uh, no, it's a quarter," I answered and quickly settled down and pretended for the next six hours to be asleep, ignoring his whispered entreaties to let Christ build a bunkhouse in my heart

If you've not read Bill Bryson, go get it. Just when you think you couldn't giggle at something, he'll show you how to.


Bunny said...

"Uh, no, it's a quarter" - LOL!!
If it had been Jesus under the airplane seat, he woulda had some 'splainin' to do . . . .

Lea in SC said...

I do love me some Bill Bryson! I have about 5 of his books and want them all. His dry humor is awesome...I do need to listen to him on a CD, though. Lewis Grizzard did that to me...anything I read of his after I heard a tape, it was like he was in my head!

SUEB0B said...

Love Bill Bryson. First one I read was the one where he drives around America that begins "I come from Des Moines. Someone has to."