Right now I'm temping. Like most of the temp jobs I've had, there's some downtime. So I brought a book.
Today, three different people asked me what I was reading.
"The Satanic Verses," I said.
Person A, a young woman, looked a little weirded out. You know, like I was reading some kind of Satan book or something. I suppose it did have Satan's name in the title.
Person B, an older man who I'm guessing is a British expatriate (going by accent alone), was very excited to hear I was reading Rushdie and stopped and chatted with me for a while about language and literature until another person popped her head into the office and hinted that he get back to work.
Person C, a middle-aged man who I'm pretty sure was DBD (again, going by accent), was less impressed.
"Have you read the Qur'an?" he asked me.
"No," I said. "I'd like to. I keep thinking I should."
"Well, you shouldn't be reading this book until you've read the Qur'an," he told me, almost as if he was giving a lecture. "There's no way you can understand it until you understand what it is criticizing."
"I'm only halfway through it now," I said, valiantly defending my honor, "but it seems like the crux of the argument so far is Gibreel's knowledge that he spoke these two contradictory statements -- or our knowledge, the reader's knowledge. Rushdie's saying that what we believe about the nature of God might be based on a false assumption."
He looked at me.
"Am I right?" I asked, smiling.
He smiled back, but it was in that sort of you have no idea what you're talking about way. "Read the book if you want," he told me, "but then do some research."
And then he left.
So... there you go.