Back in the day, I used to have a job at Barnes and Noble.
It was my dream job – working with books, and getting to recommend my favorites to others.
At least, it was until they stuck me back in the music and DVDs section.
Back there, I mostly kept to myself. My job was to organize the DVDs and CDs and stock them on Tuesdays. And once in awhile, a customer would come in and ask for a particular DVD and I’d personally escort them to it, to which they would reply: “Oh, it’s cheaper on Amazon.”
A glamorous life, for sure.
But one day, when I was lamenting my lot not being able to be out with the book people, a girl about my age came up to my counter. She had dark hair and red lipstick. And she asked a very simple question.
“Can you look up a specific actor in your database and tell me what movies he’s been in?”
I wasn’t sure the system worked like that but I was willing to give it a try. And sure enough, it did.
“Who are you looking for?” I asked.
And she said, “Alan Rickman.”
Well, I started to rattle off many a name. Too many to count, too many to remember. I started with the most obvious, like Harry Potter and Die Hard, and went to the less obvious like Dogma and Sweeney Todd.
To all of the ones I suggested, she said:
“Yup, seen that one.”
“Yup, own that.”
“Yup, loved that.”
And so, I started to get frustrated with this girl. Why was she asking me when she’d already seen them? As I continued to recite the movies with a modicum of boredom in my voice, I finally reached the end of the fifth page of movies, and said, “there’s no more.”
Thrilled to finally be rid of her, I looked to her and saw a bright smile on her face that stopped me from anything I would have said to her.
“That’s okay,” she said, “I guess I’ve just seen them all.”
And she floated away, like a bubble.
So, why do I still think about this experience? Sadly, Alan Rickman has since died, and I did think about her on that day and wonder if she was devastated, somewhere.
But the real reason I remember her is because I could tell, from our infinitesimal interaction, that she was a passionate person. She would stop at nothing to make sure that she had experienced and lived Alan Rickman’s work. She was willing to reveal her almost obsessive passion to a complete stranger, just so that she could make sure she’d seen it all.
I, too, want that passion. I want to scare people with how passionate I am about something. I want to be the girl who loved Alan Rickman.
I hope I find that passion some day. And I hope you do too. But mostly, I hope you’re not afraid to ask the bored counter girl about it, just in case there’s something you might have missed.