Sunday, April 12, 2015

You Never Know Where You'll Meet Them

I picked up a middle-aged woman at a stop next to Ben Gordon's Center. This is a place where a lot of people get off and walk to whatever destination. Or, they go to the center, or have come from it. Anyway, she paid her dollar, and sat and I dropped off the last of my riders.

During the ride she makes a phone call. Now, I don't like to eavesdrop, but you make a call in a public place, and I'm sorry, but I'm right there, so if I hear some juicy, personal stuff, that's their problem. She was talking to someone about her ex's stuff, saying she didn't know who she should contact, but knew she couldn't do anything with his stuff, and that he was in jail and couldn't come and get it himself.


So, I drive along, thinking about my bathroom break at Target during her one-sided conversation on this. She eventually gets her answer, and I pull up next to the shopping center. I'm getting out. She asks how long I'll be. I said five minutes. She asks if she can smoke (I feel sorry for her lungs). Sure, just don't smoke next to my door, I say. She won't. So, we both get off and do our thing.

I come back we get back on the bus, and I drive slowly away, and through the parking area.

"Do you like your job?" she asks.

Now, this is a loaded question.

"No. I hate it," I say. "But it allows me to do other things." I then fill in the blanks that I've worked for this company for 15 plus years and have seen only about $2.00 in raises since. I inform her I don't get paid through NIU, but through a company which owns us. No benefits, and  lousy pay for transit driver.

As I drive past the closed up Barnes & Nobel, she made comment she didn't know it was closed. Wow, you don't get out much, do you? I think to myself.

She thought it was scary to see a bookstore close. I can't recall my response to that, but I tell her that I think the other stores will stay open (if only so that big names who are published through the trad-publishers could have their books and book signings in them). I told her I meet people all the time who like to hold an actual book to read from. She was one of them, and said she had a box of books. When I found my opening, I told her I was an author.

"Wow," she said. That's when she asked what I wrote.

I looked back at her through my mirror as I came to a slow stop for a light. "The best way to say it is I write vampire books."

"Teenage, or adult?"


"Oh. Good. I can't find anything in adult with vampires," she said. "I'm 41, I don't like reading about teenagers."

We have a conversation in this vein for about five more minutes and I get to another light. I tell her I'll give her a card when she gets off. I pick up a few more people, and we don't speak until she gets to her stop. I've dug out my card--you really need a business card with all the information on it, so that when you meet someone who might be interested can go find you/your books. She saw my name, and miss-pronounced it (usually that's the case). "Oh, sounds like Horlei." EEEW!

"No, it's Lor-e-lie (I do the phonetics for her). You ever hear Styx's song "Lorelei"? I ask.

"No. But I know the group," she says, getting off, and facing me, and looking at my card a couple of times. "I'm going to go home and listen to it. Thanks!"

As I drive away, I feel good that I've connected with a potential reader/fan. You just never know where or when you'll meet them. It's good to be prepared. I've sold books while in my driving capacity--which is difficult, but I do it, and it's fun to have someone ask for an autograph while I'm sitting on the bus. I like to thumb my nose at the camera (bus security) when I do.

Anyway, it's nice to run into people in the street who might just be that next sale.

Have a good Sunday, and week.  Looks like our weather is finally staying warmer than it's been, and very spring-like. So, I'll be outside a lot!

Lorelei Bell author of Sabrina Strong Series