15 April 2010

shhh! can't you see i'm reading?

Last Wednesday night, my dear friend A. (of A Little Soft Shoe) and I were supposed to go to a lovely little dive-ish bar in my neighborhood and enjoy $1 PBR and $1 taco night (um, were close enough to college age that it's not that trashy. don't judge.) But then she sent me this and I immediatly forgot all about PBR. Books? Reading? While Drinking? In a bar with Swanky Dark Wood Paneling? Yes. Hell Yes.

So I bust out my Kindle (oh yea, I take my reading seriously), grabbed A, and we headed off to the Sorrento hotel to read some books. I was excited. I was going to be surrounded with... no, I was going to bask in... no, I was going to luxuriate in the presence of other bibliophiles enjoying happy hour prices.

When A. and I got there, it was beautiful. And quiet. Really quiet. The waitress whispered. We whispered back. The table was at the perfect height to hit your knees on every time (ow.) We ordered what were expensive glasses of happy hour wine and realized that swanky hotel bars have to pay for all that wood paneling and fancy schmancy seating somehow. I was starving and ordered macaroni and cheese too.

A. and I hadn't seen each other in days, but we couldn't really bring ourselves to whisper and disturb the other (silent) patrons. Instead we just kept looking at each other while we pulled out our books (A Staggering Work of Heartbreaking Genius by Dave Eggers for her and No One Belongs Here More Than You by Miranda July for moi).

We read. And drank wine. I ate my heart-breakingly small and devastatingly mediocre mac 'n' cheese. Everywhere was silent and the bar quickly filled up. Only in such a wonderful city could a silent reading night fill out and have a queue. I kind of loved it, and I kind of thought that maybe us Seattleites need a friggin' life.

After a good hour and a half, I started to get antsy. Started to have fantasies about screaming on the top of my lungs or flipping over plates of unsuspecting customers. It was time to split. Luckily, A. seemed to be feeling the same way. We packed up, leaving the others to enjoy their communal silence.

As we walked to the bus stop to head home, A. and I were talking (trying to catch up on the lost time) and I realized that I read plenty when I'm out. At coffeehouses. At coffeehouses that serve alcohol. At coffeehouses that serve much better, more reasonably priced alcohol than this place, with better food to boot. I looked at A. and she looked at me. Um, why did we think that would be so exciting?

Not trying to shift blame here, but I think we allowed ourselves to be misguided by The Stranger, who's author wrote a compelling piece about the completely-fantastic-nature-of-such-an-event. After all, he argued, it's just so hard to read and have a drink sometimes. But then... thinking back to the article...wait a sec, he was reading where?... of course he was bothered while reading in a popular gay bar that's known for its jello shots and dance parties. I would probably wonder what the heck he was doing he was cracking The New Yorker there too. Geesh.

I returned home to Amos, who was incredulous when I told him that the night wasn't as awesome as I would have hoped. (You mean it wasn't super fun to sit in a silent bar and read a book while drinking expensive cocktails?! No way!)

I rolled my eyes and went to go get ready for bed, and that's when it struck me.

I had just attended a very, very upscale study hall.*

Update: Amos just informed me that, for the last 12 hours, I had a typo in my title. whoops.

*ok, so this was actually a comment a poster had left on The Strangers comments. But I didn't know/believe him until that exact moment. But to include such a line in a story makes it clunky, so I took artistic license.


  1. This post is too funny! I could see how an event like that might be appreciated by solo diners, you know everyone else is silent and reading so they don't feel awkward doing so by their lonesome. But I'm like you I would have been dying to talk to my friend too. I have to say the idea of a reading night in a fancy place pretty much makes me want to move to Seattle, even if it isn't as awesome in practice!

  2. really, a silent bar?!? how funny! at least you had your chic Kindle with you!
    xox alison


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