This hasn't gone unnoticed by my hair stylist. I've been seeing the same woman every 8 weeks for the last 4 years. She comments on my book every time she cuts my hair.
"You're so smart, you're my reading client!"
I'm always kind of disappointed that having a book to read while hair color sets is so rare... but it always starts a little conversation when I'm back in the chair after the hair dye has all been washed out and I'm ready for my cut.
"So what is it that you're reading this time?"
At this most recent appointment, it was Internment, by Samira Ahmed. I explained the premise- a dystopian future in which Muslim Americans are placed in internment camps by a tyrannical administration. (A little too close to reality for my personal comfort).
My stylist stopped somewhat abruptly, and looked off to the side. I wasn't sure what she was going to say. She lifted up a towel on the side of her stand.
Underneath the black salon towel was a hardcover copy of Michelle Obama's Becoming. My stylist looked a little embarrassed.
"I bought it at the airport last week. I thought about how you always have a book, and brought it here in case I have a break. Of course, I never have a break, so I'll never finish it." She trailed off.
English isn't my stylist's first language. She's told me many times that she finds reading intimidating or boring, and that she can't remember the last time she read a book. I knew it was a step outside of her comfort zone to show me that she was trying to make reading a habit.
"Maybe you'll finish it by the next time I come in! 8 weeks! I'll read it before then too, so we can talk about it."
"Really?" she looked at me skeptically.
"Really, I'll read it, and you can finish it, too. If you like it, and you want to."
A reading teacher is never really off duty.