Saturday, October 25, 2008


early last sunday morning i stepped onto the A train at 168th, its first stop due to construction. the train should have been empty and clean. it wasn't. but when the doors opened a woman came in to sweep up some garbage. she picked up a book with a post-it on the cover. "hah!" she exclaims. she walks towards me and another girl at the end of the train. "look at this, it's a note. it says 'pick me up and i'm yours.' strange! it's probably a bible or something." the latter part of that statement seemed a bit non-sequitur-ish but i still understood what she meant as she said in an a "oh, you know those religious zealots always being crazy and shoving the bible in your face" kind of way. she flipped open the top cover and i saw loads of writing in red marker inside. she left the train with the book and re-entered the car a few seconds later. sans book.

and right away, seeing that the book was gone, i intensely regretted not having taken it from her. i thought about composing a blog post about my missed chance at finding something that might have been exceptional. and realizing the train still wasn't moving, i stepped to the door and looked out to see if saw signs of the book. i did! it was on the stairs on the subway platform! i made a mad dash to the stairs, grabbed it and fled back onto the train. just in time, in fact, as the bells dinged and the doors shut less than 5 seconds later. what i found was NOT a bible. it was an anthology of "dramatic opinions and essays" by bernard shaw, vol. 1. since i'm such a theatre buff, it all started to feel very fate-ish.

i peek inside to find this book is quite old indeed. copywrighted in 1907, by 1912 it was part of the private library of one louise edgar. she even signed and dated it up top. and at some point, put her own seal there to mark her territory. the note on the inside cover was a bit banal. it reads: "to whoever found this book (as i do presume you did if you're reading this), it is now yours. i encourage you to read it but this isn't necessary. whatever you do do with it though, i have of you one request. when you're done with it (and preferably that isn't right after you've read this [note]), leave it somewhere for someone else to find. thank you for picking it up and for not judging this book by its cover." and signed it "anonymous." quite dramatic, indeed.

the index shows there are essays on lots of shakespeare, a good old favorite of this old former-english major. i will likely scan those. there's a short bit about nietzsche in english, and a bit on bernhardt. after that i will drop it off somewhere else. not a train though (seeing as it nearly got tossed the first time 'round). maybe a table at starbucks? the dressing room of a williamsburg boutique? suggestions?

3 people who played with me:

Blogger Michelle said...

This is brilliant, i never find things like this. I wonder how many other people have read it so far.

10/25/2008 6:56 PM  
Blogger cadiz12 said...

very cool. i say if you definitely want someone who won't throw it out, put it in a funky cafe.

10/25/2008 8:48 PM  
OpenID peterdewolf said...

Oh, man. I LOVE that idea.

10/27/2008 8:16 AM  

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