In Which I Reveal I’m a Writer, Am Judged Insane

science-magazines

So imagine this.  I was in the lovely American Book Center in the heart of Amsterdam (our flagship English language bookstore) about to buy an arguably trashy read I found in the bargain section.  The counter is right next to the giant news stand and while the clerk was ringing up my purchase I did a sudden double take when I saw what you see on the left.

I pulled the magazine out to confirm, with my heart beating rapidly- yes, this was the Astronomy magazine for which I wrote the cover article, sitting innocuously on the news stand with all the other magazines!

By this point the clerk wants the four Euro for the book and is giving me an odd look, so I feel obliged to explain.  “Sorry, but I wrote this cover article!” I say proudly.

“You wrote the cover.” He says this with a Dutch accent and a tone I’m not entirely certain of, but is very similar to one I hear if my native English pace of speech gets too fast and excited about something (which, let’s be honest, happens a decent amount).  So I explain.

“Yes, I’m an astronomer and I write, and I wrote this cover article.”  And I put the Astronomy magazine back on the newsstand- fun as it would be to purchase I have copies of the magazine already, and this is encouragingly the last one they have.

“I’m sure you did,” he says, with a funny look on his face.  It’s then I realize that the clerk’s tone is not the “I don’t understand” tone I assumed but rather one far more impossible to deal with- a tone that doesn’t just say “I don’t believe you” tone but downright “this girl is nuts!”

“The door is that way,” he says with the same tone and look as he points helpfully two meters behind us at a doorway that any sane, rational person can spot seeing as you have to walk past it to get to the counter.  And I realize at that moment you can’t actually tell someone you’re not crazy when they already think you’re making up being a scientist and writer for your own odd, perverted reasons.  So I go.

The funny thing though?  Though my pride took a hit the writer in me doesn’t really mind, as for the rest of my life I have a good story from it.

5 responses to “In Which I Reveal I’m a Writer, Am Judged Insane

  1. Look at you, writing a real article that requires knowledge and actual work! Why can’t you be a typical travel blogger and write an e-book instead??!?111

    • Haha, thanks I think.

      I confess part of me wonders what the reaction might have been had I picked up an issue of Cosmo instead, but didn’t want to sound like I’m reading too much into it.

  2. Well, you handled it very maturely — I’d be stewing over it (and plotting revenge) for weeks! :p

    • Well there was slight stewing to be fair- there’s part of you that gets a little miffed when you finally decide to ‘out’ yourself and get such a reaction…

  3. Well, I can point with pride and say that I know her and have attended ham radio club meetings with her and my folks also come from Hungary and if I’d be about 60 years younger we’d be in the same generation. Yes, proud to know astronomer you.
    Sam NV8L

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s