Upon reading the following passage from Special Topics in Calamity Physics while on vacation in Florida, I had a dire urge to tap the woman a few lawn chairs away from me and say, "Get a load of this." But, I quickly realized that this flabby armed 85-year-old was not going to give two hoots about anything I said. That, and the fact that I myself am not too fond of when others forcibly read excerpts from books to me. With that said, I am going to be a hypocrite. I highly urge you to read the following passage. It'll only take a minute. After reading it 5 times now, all I can say is,
"Holy cow, that is utterly beautiful."
"Obviously, being able to simply listen was a skill supremely underestimated in the Western world. As Dad was fond of pointing out, in America, apart from those who won the lottery, generally all Winners were in possession of a strident voice, which was successfully used to overpower the thrum of all the competing voices, thereby producing a country that was insanely loud, so loud, most of the time no actual meaning cold be discerned -- only 'nationwide white noise.' And thus when you met someone who listened, someone content to do nothing but listen, so overwhelming was the difference, you had the startling and quite lonely epiphany that everyone else, every person you'd encountered since the day you were born who'd supposedly listened, had not really been listening to you at all. THey'd been subtly checking out their own reflection in the glass bureau a little to the west of your head, thinking what they had to do later that evening, or deciding that next, as soon as you shut up, they were going to tell that classic story about their bout of Bangladeshi beachside dysentery, thereby showcasing how worldly, how wild (not to mention how utterly enviable) a human being they were."
- page 98