Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Four Piles of...Something

People leave piles of books everywhere in the store. Under chairs, jammed into bookcases sideways, and of course, on tables in the Cafe. Some people hide their piles in corners or try to disguise them, just like the dog when he craps in the living room. I spend a lot of time picking up piles, and reshelving their constituent components.

Sometimes the piles are delightfully eclectic - a couple of new novels, a travel book, a news magazine or two. But most of the time, the piles are obsessively single-minded. Every single book in the store on how to write business letters, get into law school, become multiorgasmic, have the perfect wedding, raise tropical fish, or any one of hundreds of other topics. It's as if the person who creates the pile is searching for the book that has the magic answer. "If I just buy the right book, all my problems will be solved, and I will write the perfect letter/get into the best law school/have the most beautiful wedding/raise the healthiest fish/have the screamingest orgasms EVER."

Tonight, I picked up four separate piles from the Cafe. These piles were topical and almost angry. One pile on Zionism. One pile on reparations for slavery. One pile of Bush-hatred. One pile on Jihad. I wonder if the guys with the Zionism and Jihad books eyeballed each other across the Cafe.

Depending on my level of crankiness for the day, I may invoke a small curse on the depositor of the pile. I mutter under my breath as I bend down for the 50th time that night to pick up a pile: "I curse you to be rejected by every law school to which you apply." Or, "I curse your wedding to be a cascade of embarassing disasters." Like that. Very occasionally, the pile evokes a pity response, and I leave off the cursing, because it would feel wrong to curse the leaver of a pile of books on cancer recovery. Usually, however, the curses are dire. "I curse you never to have more than one orgasm at a time, and that one to be barely toe-curling."

It's not much, but it makes me feel a little better as I walk around the store, cleaning up the piles.


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