Barnes & Donna Noble

Sometimes the Doctor Who references in my life are so frequent and odd that I can’t help wondering if life imitates art.

After work sometimes I head over to Barnes and Noble to write. On this particular day I was trying to come up with a good idea for a ceremony that would be the opposite of a wedding. My plans changed completely.

I should start this story off with a little fact about me and clothing and Doctor Who. I wear bowties. I don’t wear them every day, but often enough that people associate me with them. I’ve been doing this for about ten years now, before they came back.

The newest Doctor on the series (Doctor Who) wears bowties! I was thrilled; for years I’d been rocking these wonderful clothing accessories and even in the nerd community I was kind of looked at funny. I remember one time a few years ago, someone wearing high-water pants and a short sleeved graph paper patterned shirt approached me and said, “Really man, that’s going too far.” I wish I’d thought of the catch phrase the Doctor always says, “Bowties are cool” back then. It would have been a much better response to my uncomfortable giggle and trip to the restroom to see if I really looked too nerdy.

Ten years later I’ve seen the bowtie come back, first in the annals of fashion magazines, then in the last two years an explosion! The bowtie has become a respectable fashion statement again and is seen donned on many a celebrity, television character, and everyday men and women (yes women wear them too).

So back to Barnes and Noble. I first noticed him when I was looking at magazines. He looked terribly young and was smiling at me, I was in the cinema magazines and he was over by the sports section. I kind of smiled back but then made my way over to the café, bought a coffee and began to write on my iPad. I use a Bluetooth keyboard for those of you who know how frustrating it can be to type out a story or essay on the iPad by hand.

That’s when I look up and see the young man standing in front of my little table.

“Hi” he said, smiling… it was a very perky greeting.


“Mind if I sit here, I like your bowtie.”

This time I got to do it, “Bowties are cool.”

He raised his eyebrows and chuckled, “Yes they are, and I saw Justin Bieber wearing one.”

I tried not to cringe and invited him to sit with a gesture of my hand, “Justin Bieber? Really?” I actually knew this fact already but I didn’t want to admit it. I’m one of those people that visit, to have a laugh.

He looked around and said, “Thanks for letting me sit with you, everyone else here looks kind of creepy.” Then he opened up his magazine and started reading.

I was flattered that I didn’t look creepy but a quick glance didn’t reveal any creepy looking people around us. Although to his credit, there also weren’t any other tables with a solitary person so I chalked it up to that.

“It isn’t a problem, I think people need to be friendlier in Miami, when I was in San Francisco strangers always sat together at Starbucks.”

“Shut up!”


He laughed at my reaction. “I used to live in California too, in the bay area, always went to the city to party.”

“How old are you?”



“Yes, you want to see my drivers license?”

“Maybe, I guess I would never have gone into the city to party when I was your age.”

“How old are you, 25?”

I smiled again. “Thank you! I’m actually 33.”

“You’re almost there.” he said with a bit of awe.

“Where?” I asked in wonderment as to the direction of our conversation.

“Jesus death, you’re going to surpass Jesus death…” then quickly he added, “But I don’t believe in Jesus.”

I thought about it for a second, “I hate conversations about religion.”

“Good, we don’t have to have one.” He was so confident and just smiled, then with a look of uncertainty he uttered, “…are you?”

“Religious? No, not at all.”

“Oh Good.” He said and began reading his magazine. I watched him smile before I joined him and settled into our respective activities.

I’m not sure a whole minute passed by, “I’m Tyler by the way.”

“Like Rose.”

He didn’t catch the reference, “What?”

I was embarrassed and didn’t explain, “I’m Sohail, I’m so sorry I didn’t introduce myself to you.”

“It’s okay, I just realized it now too. Nice to meet you, So-?”

“So-hail… like Inhale/Sohail” Everyone smiles after that.

“That’s great!” he said chuckling to himself then he added, “Soooo-hail, what brings you here?”

“I’m a writer.”

“Oooh, what do you write about? Can I see?”

I have to admit he was pretty adorable. All-American, feathered blond hair, bright blue eyes, some scruff under his chin, he was athletic, corn-fed and Midwestern looking, aka German/Swedish. I hadn’t yet figured out if he were gay but it was headed in that direction. Some straight people are this nice too.

“Well Tyler, I write about a lot of stuff, but mostly stories. Who knows, I might write about this…” The Irony isn’t lost on me even now. “I have a blog, I can give you the address if you like.”

“Sure, that’d be great, we can exchange phone numbers.”

A little sudden, I thought, but what the heck, “Sure.”

We exchanged phone numbers. He pulled out an iPod Touch to enter mine in, separate from his phone which he also pulled out, I didn’t ask, but later I found out he somehow forwarded all his calls to my phone… that was interesting to say the least.

We talked a little longer about him; he said he wanted to be a lawyer but he was at UM for his undergrad and that he wanted to get into Harvard. I was impressed, he was pretty smart and thought he probably stood a chance at Harvard law but warned him how competitive it was because I knew a few people who I thought were geniuses and didn’t get accepted. He didn’t seem discouraged and I was glad, I wasn’t saying it to discourage him even though now that I think about it, the remark could have been.

Then suddenly out of nowhere, “We should keep hanging out tonight.”

I looked at the time on my iPad, and it was about 9.00 p.m.. “What do you want to do?”

“I don’t know. We could go back to your place.”

I was a little surprised, I hadn’t been picked up in a long time, and I thought that might be what was happening here. “I don’t have a place.”

“What do you mean? Are you homeless?”

“Well, no, but I live with my parents, so you’d have to come hang out with all of us.”

He looked upwards, contemplating it for a moment. “Well, that might be fun.” He looked a little disappointed.

“Maybe another night? Or if its not too late we could catch a movie.”

He smiled, “Movies are nice, but I kind of want to get to know you better.”

“Well, we’ve exchanged phone numbers, that number can reach me anywhere in time and space.”

“Wow!” he laughed, “How do you do that?”

“I’ll tell you some day.” I said smiling.

He smiled back, we were gazing into one another’s eyes, “I think you’re really cute, I hope you don’t mind.”

“I don’t mind at all. So, I might be house-sitting, if that’s more your meaning.”

“Housesitting! Why didn’t you mention it before?”

“I wasn’t housesitting before.” I said, smiling while he looked utterly confused, so I thought I’d take my love of doctor who to a new level, “I’m a Timelord.”

He went with it, and we walked away together.

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