We all met, most of us didn’t know one another, a flash-mob created at 1:10PM at the Barnes and Noble in The Grove in LA. We each grabbed a book and began reading aloud while walking throughout the store . . . and on the escalators . . . and in the grand three-story balcony.
I was running late, and bustled into the store around 1:09ish, pushing past people, sliding in my flip-flops on the marble floors, bounding to get to the third floor. I had no idea which book I was going to grab, but I definitely knew it would be on the third floor. I didn’t know how many, if any, people would be here reading with me, I was listening for others, but didn’t really hear anything. I grabbed a random book from a low shelf. It was a book of blessings. “Perfect, I thought, “It’s just what I need to be putting out to the world.”
And I began to read, and listen for others. I walked around, then sure enough brushed casually by a long haired tattooed dude who was reading Mien Kampf. Then I saw others. Then I heard others mumbling near and far, like constellations of mischeif, as I myself read as loud as I could. I noticed a couple of kids walking together arm-in-arm, reading aloud too.
The plan was to read out loud until about 1:30 or until getting kicked out.
We all continued to walk around Barnes and Noble, reading aloud and eventually we saw staff members and customers begin to look at one another like, “What the . . .?” And on we read, some were mumblers, most were just reading in a relaxed and normal way, like it was perfectly acceptable public behavior. I, on the other hand, was as loud as I could be reading poetic blessings into the air. . . a sustained theatre voice projected from the diaphragm, not screaming or anything, but definitely enough to cause people to notice. I wanted to be heard by the others, to help keep momentum going. I noticed a security guard coming near me, but he was actually going after one of the other men who were reading. It was odd, like he didn’t see me. Then a sales lady approached and said, “The customers are complaining, ma’am, you have to stop.”
I walked a couple of aisles over and commenced to the blessin’ again. Then as I rounded the balcony, I saw that security guards were escorting people out, so I put my book down. The kids were still reading and giggling. No one ever asked them to stop. I found a dear friend of mine, mumbling, but still reading. It was not yet 1:30. I hugged him, and walked out the door, glowing.
The others who’d been kicked out were standing in front. I introduced myself. They said, “Hey, wanna go for coffee?”
We did. And we planned the next shenanigan. Coming soon.