Monday, March 1, 2010

The Outdoorsman

Note from the Author: I have really enjoyed the early feedback I have received about this blog. That said, the nature of my job, not to mention the nature of life, sometimes make it difficult to post regularly. I hope to post more often as we get closer to and deeper into baseball's regular season. For now, my faithful readers will probably have to put up with sporadically-timed entries. I have a couple topics I want to write about sitting in the on-deck circle.

For now, I'll leave you with this...

I was killing time in a local bookstore, waiting for a friend to make his way across the Courtney Campbell Causeway and into Clearwater so we could go grab a few beers and shoot some pool. I didn't want to be at my condo -- it was infested with fleas. But that is a story for another day.

I wandered around, scanning the shelves for something to read for a few minutes. Being a sportswriter, I avoided the sports section of the bookstore as long as possible. I always try to find something in other areas first. Got to expand your horizons and all that.

But alas, I wound up in sports. You can't deny who you are, I guess.

The thing about the sports section at this particular store is it is tucked away in the far, back corner. I browsed the titles in football and basketball, and then searched for anything on running, especially with my fourth marathon right around the corner. Baseball is always the last section I scan for titles I haven't read.

I stumbled into the outdoors section and saw the book, "Into Thin Air," by John Krakauer. Knowing he also authored "Into the Wild," I picked up the tome, thumbed the pages to about the midway point and picked a random chapter to digest.

As I read, I felt the presence of what I thought was a couple people come around the corner and walk behind me. But, then one of them started talking.

"So," came a man's voice, "do you like to do a lot of outdoors stuff?"

I kept reading. I just assumed he was talking to the person he was with, but then it came again.

"Do you like outdoors stuff?" he repeated.

I looked up, and saw a 50-something, balding man standing alone, and positioned uncomfortably close to me.

I pointed at myself and said, "Me?" I hoped that somehow his awkward question was still intended for someone else, even though I was the only other person around.

"Yeah," he said. "You."

He pointed at the book I was reading, showing me the root of his inquiry.

"Um, not really," I said. "Just like this author."

He then began telling me about camping, and something else about mountains and, well, I'm not really sure. I had put the book on the shelf and was slowly walking backwards out of the aisle. I was a little creeped out. He may have been in the middle of a sentence when I said, "You have a nice day, sir," before heading out of sight.

This was either the friendliest man on earth. Or, some guy was hitting on me in the back corner of a bookstore.

I have all the luck.


  1. Yeah, he was hitting on you. Take it as a compliment :)

  2. Did you end up getting "Into Thin Air" eventually? It's a good easy read, I definitely recommend it. Maybe just find a store with a more wide open 'outdoors' section this time ;-)