Dave in this kind way of his that defies reason, except insofar as it kind of explains how he manages to love me, mentioned a few weeks ago that perhaps I could go through some of my books.
“Just give some away,” he said, as if that were the easiest thing to do on earth.
He doesn’t know that I know he is farming me, I think as he walks away without making eye contact. The guy was planting a seed. I am the dense soil; he is the farmer. Action wasn’t expected. As all good farmers do, he sent up a prayer and moved on.
Imagine shelves lined with books neatly arranged according to genre and author. Now picture the exact opposite.
I’m trusting you with this image to not think less of me. Sharing’s not easy.
In my defense, my family isn’t great at respecting the boundaries of each other’s cornfields. Under the cover of darkness they have willfully turned my “office” into a memorabilia and mystery laundry purgatory. Sure the farmer and the chillin’ give lip service to the contrary, but in truth my “office” is a rather cushy storage area for everyone in the family’s crap. Instead of an office, or even a junk drawer, what we’ve got here is junk room. In the clan’s defense, I’m certain that someday in the future everything in my “office” will be critical for our continued existence.
But when Farmer Dave throws his empty suitcase in here with the intent of someday returning it to its appropriate closet – or should I say stall - I know the end – the one where my office is nothing more than a glorified silo – has arrived.
This morning I was in the middle of searching for a book in my glorified silo, the title and subject of which now elude me, when I switched gears, probably because of that pesky little seed Farmer Dave planted in my not-so-fertile mind. For around five minutes I gave this massive book depository of mine, located in an untended field of sawgrass rug, my full attention. Since I am now writing this, it’s pretty obvious that this attention didn’t last.
A year or so ago I decided to divest myself of some of my library through Book Mooch. The initiative resulted in a full day spent on this exchange website listing books, followed by another full day at the office store where I stood confounded in an aisle considering envelopes. Bubble lined, or not? Perhaps color coded? Why are these pretty colored ones less expensive? Is something the matter with them? What size address labels? Oh, what about return address labels? Should I buy a postal scale? Isn’t this getting ridiculous?
When a fellow Book Moocher – one who quickly snagged my copies of both The Memory Keeper’s Daughter and Water for Elephants – noted my enthusiastic start, she gave me some advice. She suggested that I only list ten or so books and only ones I knew were in high demand. That way I’d enter ten books, they’d be gone by the end of the day, and I could mail them all at once. I could then sit back and “mooch” some books back for myself. Not exactly zero population growth for the shelves, but it was a well-intended start. Let’s call it “rotating crops.”
Even though he’s damned nice, the farmer doesn’t understand the degree to which considerations such as Book Mooch, used bookstores or Amazon – heaven forbid, don’t get me started on the perils of Amazon – can keep me stuck until next Tuesday. Looking up several hours later I would find myself surrounded by Eiger-esque piles of books, in the middle of this possession purgatory. Should I write about it or make a lame attempt to purge? Either way, resistant soil’s going to do what it’s going to do.