Saturday, April 17, 2010

A Day at Church

There's a church down the street that I go to sometimes. Not for god stuff—I'm not a religious person—but for community events, like pie contests, art exhibits, and the weekly used book sale.

Books are fifty cents for paperbacks and a dollar for hardcovers. This can be for brand-new releases, rare books, or trashy airport novels. All are priced the same. Children's books are free. And good stuff shows up every week.

I go to the book sale frequently, usually with intent to distribute. I like to get rid of my books once I've read them, either by giving them to friends or to the book sale. I seldom keep books. I feel strongly that books are to be read, not to gather dust on a shelf.

Reality is different than intent, of course, and I can't remember the last time I left the book sale without a purchase. I figure if I get out of there with less than I went with, I'm doing all right.

Last time I went, I showed up in the last 15 minutes of the day. I whizzed around the room, glancing at tables to see if there was anything I couldn't miss. As always, I finished my circuit with a quick look at the travel section. I always stop there in case I can score a copy of Dik-Dik for fifty cents.

I'd just missed my chance today. A woman had a copy of Dik-Dik in her arms. Surprised, I blurted out "I wrote that!"

She looked surprised too, and we exchanged uncertain grins before I shuffled off to the fiction center, wondering what I'd hoped to achieve by telling her that.

A minute later, one of the volunteers who mans the book sale came over.

"You wrote this?"


"Will you sign it for the woman buying it?"

And then it was all okay. I signed it, the purchaser and I had a nice chat about the value of public transportation, and for good measure, I gave her a Dik-Dik postcard, since I didn't want her to think I was some freak who wandered around claiming I'd written whatever book a stranger had in her hands.

She seemed like my kind of person... I hope my neighbor liked the book.

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