I had a weird moment today. It was a strange encounter and I am compelled to write it down.
I have a ritual on Sunday mornings. I wake early then I shower and I dress. I then grab whatever book I am reading at the moment and head across to my local Starbucks. I have a standing order of a grande double shot vanilla latte with a fresh baked croissant. The coffee gives me a kick start. It wakes me up. I used to take my own vegemite to spread on my croissant but I now leave a jar there. Ken - who works behind the counter - spreads it for me.
Vegemite is the king of breakfast spreads. It is black and salty and is made from a yeast extract. The English have a poorer version that is called Marmite. It is shit in comparison.
I don't even have to go inside now to order my Sunday breakfast. I sit at my normal outdoor table and Ken brings me out my coffee and croissant. He is a good bloke.
I have offered Ken a try of vegemite. He didn't like it. This didn't surprise me. vegemite is one of those things that you need to be bought up on. Anyway - I eat my croissant, I drink my coffee and I read my book. It is a nice way to start the day.
The book that I am currently reading is "Sputnik Sweetheart". It is by Haruki Murakami. He is one of my favorite authors. Murakami's writings are influenced by one of his favorite writers - Kurt Vonnegut. I like Vonnegut a lot. "Sputnik Sweetheart" was first published in 2001 - so it is not a new release. It is not like the abomination that is "Fifty Shades of Grey".
A crap book if ever I have read one.
The reason I mention this is that about ten minutes after I had sat down - an extremely tall and very blonde girl sat at the table next to me. She had piercing green eyes and a matching cup of green tea. The tall blonde girl was carrying a very big bag from which she pulled out a book. The book was "Sputnik Sweetheart"! What are the odds? She must have noticed the commonality before me because she stood up and walked over to my table. With her book.
"Hello" she said.
"Hello" I replied.
"We are reading the same story" she commented.
"So we are" I replied.
I asked her what page she was up to.
"Page 63" she advised.
I was on page 77. So I knew a bit more about what was going on than her.
I was more advanced.
She asked if she could join me and I said 'please do". I enquired what her name was and she told me that it was Linnea. I have never met a Linnea before. Linnea informed me that she was from Norway. She told me what her surname was as well but I couldn't pronounce it. It got stuck in my throat. We shook hands. It was very civil. She was curious about what was on my croissant so I tried to explain vegemite and I offered her a bite. She took a sniff and politely declined. I don't blame her. Vegemite is an acquired taste.
It is not for everyone.
We talked about Murakami for a while and the other novels he had written. There was consensus that "Norwegian Wood" was our favorite. I suspected there was some patriotism in this choice by her. She also liked Vonnegut and had, like me, read all of his works. We agreed that Vonnegut's last couple of works were very bitter.
He was hostile towards the American Government.
Linnea and I chatted for a couple of hours about writers, books, food, Singapore and traveling. It was very pleasant. I have been to Sweden and Finland before but never to Norway. Linnea has never been to Australia. She asked what I did here in Singapore and I confessed that I worked for an evil Bank. Linnea told me that she is a student of literature and she wants to be a teacher - but she is in Singapore doing a modeling assignment. I could well imagine that she would be very photogenic. She is stunningly beautiful in a very Scandinavian way.
I had to leave at 1.00 pm as I had arranged to meet some friends for lunch.
Linnea is going back to Norway in ten days time but we have arranged to meet again next Sunday for breakfast to discuss what we think of "Sputnik Sweetheart". We have both committed to finishing the book before then.
I like talking about literature and it is always nice to meet new people and make new friends.
It is what life is all about isn’t it?