Why I want to High-Five Perfect Strangers

On my daily commute into Sydney’s CBD yesterday, I found myself staring out the window, occasionally nodding off as I tried to recreate the feeling of snoozing in bed beneath warm covers.

As my stop approached, my inner clock warned me that it was time to wake up.

I glanced around the train and saw other commuters, also wishing they were somewhere else. Some people expressed this aggressively, by playing loud music through headphones that could only be classified as ‘metallic construction shriek.’ Some ate into others’ personal space, in a tribal display of man-spreading. Yet others were glued to phones and the latest addictive must-play game of the year.

But there was one woman I wanted to high-five. Why you might ask? What could I possibly find in this forced shared experience, that would make we want to jump out of my seat, traverse the train carriage and slap hands with this perfect stranger?

She was reading a book.

You know, that thing we all used to read. With a pretty cover and real pages bound together. The thing that doesn’t need a power source. That is blissfully silent.

And it restored my faith that out there, somewhere, other people were enjoying books too, just like we did back in the 90’s, before the internet. It gave me hope that someone was savouring the simple act of turning the page, and hearing the paper rustle slightly against itself, and to feel the weight of those words in their hands.

Granted, this was one woman, on an entire train carriage. But it reminded me of what it was like, not so long ago in our human evolution, when smartphones were replaced with books or newspapers. Remember those?

So, I wanted to say ‘up high/down low/too slow!’ to this perfect stranger. She made my day.

I dare you to high-five a random book reader on your next commute. They’re difficult to spot, but they deserve our respect.

Yours in creativity,


Ps: Do you like reading books too? Well, I’m writing one. If you’d like to read exclusive content that doesn’t make it onto my blog, and you’re a fan of women’s fiction, be sure to sign up to my newsletter. Thanks a bunch!

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