Because we haven’t lived in Vermont long, I don’t really know anyone intimately. There are friendships forming, surely, but we’re a ways off from the deep trust that shatters my continual paranoia that people are just being polite and do not want to be friends. Do other people have this? The constant feeling of being an overeager puppydog? I do not have any identifiable disorder and I’m otherwise not a particularly anxious person—other than the obvious low-level existential crisis that pervades every moment of my life. But when it comes to people, I live in a state of self-doubt.
Like, if I’ve ever asked you to coffee, to go on a hike, to… wait, those are the only two things I ever do. If I’ve ever asked you to do those things, I promise you that every single time I thought it over a minimum of 47 times and spent the whole time until you responded worrying that I had imposed myself on you.
Note: If you are the same way, could you please let me know? I’d totally appreciate some company on the freak float over here. Or is it just me?
This is why what I did last week is so extraordinary. It’s a story I’d like to tell you. Well, not rising to the level of an entire story.
Last week, I looked at someone and said, “Bring me a book, and I will read it.” I offered no parameters, no caveats. Just, “I will read it.”
Granted, this happens to be someone who has recommended several excellent books in the past, but this was not a book recommendation. This was a trust fall. “Bring me a book, and I will read it.” Whatever you bring me, whatever you want to share with me, I will go there. I trust you to treat my mind, my emotions, and my time with care. I trust you enough to walk into a room without knowing what is in there, and I will stay in there until it is done.
This was blind faith for the nerd set.
He brought me Little, Big, a book I’d never have sought on my own. It is deep, dark, and winding. It is captivating, yet unsettling in ways I’m not yet able to describe. I am grateful for him treating my offer with such care.
I want to keep doing it, work my way through my community. Find what they bring me, learn them through the books they choose. If baked goods smooth the way to community, I want to see what happens when I ask people I don’t know all that well to bring me a small piece of what matters to them, promising to treat their offering with respect and gratitude.
Can you do this? Can you go up to someone—not a spouse, not a best friend—and commit to reading whatever they hand you?
Bring me a book, and I will read it.