I have a newfound appreciation for the monks who take a vow of silence. They understand what is essential to spiritual well-being. Especially the ones that brew beer.
Let me back up a bit.
A few weeks ago, I was answering work emails in a bland New Mexico hotel room when the text below came in from AM:
“Can we also set up a date where we just read and make tea and hot chocolate and don’t even have to speak but just existing in reading in the same room? This is my dream.”
Same, AM. Same.
As any self-respecting millennial would do, we let the plan sit, like that pad thai from lunch two weeks ago that we thought we would eat later. Then we thought we would be fancy and rent one of those igloos planted in the winter wonderland of Bryant Park, until we realized we’re not fancy at all. Then we discovered the Silent Book Club. Two hours of reading in quiet companionship, with minimal socializing? How had we not heard of this before?
The next meetup would take place at Jadis, which you may recall from a previous post (we won’t remind you of what has happened on those wine bar couches). We met outside the bar shortly after the start of the event, afraid to enter the Den of the Introverts alone. After acquiring our Cotes du Rhone, we made our way to the back lounge, where a few groups were already congregated. Our only clue to which group we belonged were the stray paperbacks on the glass coffee table.
After standing behind them like two dopes, trying to make eye contact with someone, we awkwardly introduced ourselves and squeezed in on the wooden bench (not nearly as comfortable, but probably safer than the couch). And then: we read. For 60 uninterrupted minutes.
When was the last time you had 60 uninterrupted minutes to read? Where you weren’t drawn away from the page by the beguiling ding of a Snapchat notification, or the voice of your mother in your head, reminding you of all the responsibilities you’re avoiding by reading? This was bliss. We sat, enjoying our reads (AM with Catch-22, me with the next Martha Hall Kelly book), savoring our wine, embracing the time we had, knowing real life was but minutes away. I have to agree with AM–the bench was not the ideal reading spot–but the experience was emotionally restorative. Even if we were both momentarily distracted by the reader sitting next to us, arguing with the server about the bar’s credit card minimum.
We’re both eager to attend again, and we just might be on time to get a good seat.