Wednesday, November 22, 2006

A Book In Common

I knew S for almost a year. We started as friends, made a half hearted attempt to be more but could not and finally parted as friends. We decided it was best not to stay in touch and maybe it is just as well. Early into our acquaintance we once talked about our reading habits. He was fascinated by criminal psychology and forensic pathology - I wondered if it had to do with his father being a psychiatrist and his two long term relationships with highly unusual women. It was almost like his fascination with aberrations in human nature caused him to gravitate towards them - they both had an abundance. I had to wonder if the same was true about me given his interest.

He could make jokes about things like necrophilia without batting an eye. I would find myself laughing and then feeling strangely queasy that I did. I often teased him that he should try his hand at crime fiction - maybe he was destined to become the next Thomas Harris

His reading was confined to his subjects of interest and we could never come up with one book we had both read and enjoyed as adults. Everything diverged after Three Men In a Boat which we both had by the strangest coincidence read in third grade.

I wondered if our paths could
ever converge again. I have never read Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett or James Ellroy and he had no use for Derek Walcott, A.S Byatt or John Updike. So, I started to seek the happy medium believing that discovery would help us understand each other better. Perfume by Patrick Suskind turned out be just what we were looking for - we read the same collection of words to entirely disparate effect and meanings. Finding a book in common with S brought home the realization that the perception of what two people have in common, its outward signs and reality itself are very different things.

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