40 and 41 out of 410 days: The Dangers of Reading Roman History on the Subway

I took Rosenstein with me on my way to apply for the Turkish Visas yesterday. This drew more attention than reading porn in public.   Apparently in the age of private Kindle reading selections having a real book with a few pictures in it is an open invitation to conversation.  On my way there a nice man decided he must give me a section of the NY Times with an article about Egyptian Cats at Brooklyn Museum.  He was nervous to break the code of subway silence but couldn’t repress his desire to engage about culture.  He explained he tried to take an art history course or similar every summer.  I said I wished more people did that.  He responded fervently that the world would be a better, more humane place if they did.

On the way back, it was standing room only and I was smashed in next to a police officer, Officer O’Reilly his badge said.   He wanted to know if I was an avid reader and how he should go about becoming a reader himself.   He was bored with video games and the like.  He wanted substance.  I asked him what subjects interested him, history? science? Definitely science.  What kind of shows did he watch on television?  Did he need plot resolution?  a narrative arc?  mystery?  intensity?  I settled on recommending The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.  One wasn’t good enough.  So I moved on to describing the writing style of Erik Larson.  Apparently my narration of the Devil in the White City was so gripping that a nearby junky (I know making such assumptions is less than PC, but if he wasn’t a junky, he certainly had adopted a similar aesthetic for his self-presentation.) interrupted and demand to know if I was describing the book in my hand.  I said, no, another book.  He needed all the details straight away.

I love New York.  I adore public transportation.

The visa application process was nerve wrecking I had to fill out by hand my CV including publications.  Four to eight weeks for any answers.  On the bright side, I met a nice girl going on Fulbright to paint Seljuk carpets with whom we might connect in Istanbul.  This morning I identified a coin set into jewelry for a friend of a friend.  A fun little test.  Now onto coins. SDA is away and as today is 10% of my sabbatical complete I hope to make it a good one…

And I almost forgot, my beloved is on the radio on our favorite show, Splendid Table.  Start listening at minute 36.30, if you want to skip to the good part.