Friday, February 13, 2015

Who I found there

I tried to tell you this yesterday, or the day before, but the rule of these daily writings is that we take the first good exit we come to.

Because we will always be back.

I am back.

Have you seen what I write about lately? I have. And sometimes I come to the place where I think "Why don't I tell the truth for awhile?" Even if every writer who ever lived has known to do better than that.

You can't get there. You can't quite get to the truth. It is terrible, but you can't.

So today I am going to go out and tell you about the first three patrons I see while I'm shelving in fiction. No tricks.

1. First patron. White haired, sitting in a chair by the glass looking out over the atrium. She is almost swallowed up in her huge, puffy blue coat. She appears to be writing notes on little bits of paper, which, curiously, is precisely what I'm doing.

2. Second patron. Middle-aged woman in my aisle, down on the far end. She has reading glasses on (like me!) and is perusing our literature in a considering sort of way. I am trying to memorize where on the shelves she is so that I can report what she was looking at (and, ultimately, what she rejected) when she leaves. From here, of course, I can barely see anything at all about the books she's looking over. Nevertheless, the name "Kent Haruf" pops into my mind. I write it off as impossible for me to know, but it turns out that it isn't. She was indeed interested in the Kent Haruf books, but in the end, not interested enough.

3. Third patron. Another woman, also in a blue jacket. Everyone seems to be keeping their jacket on in here. Well, it is a bit chilly up in fiction today. I only see this woman for a couple seconds as she walks by. Her walk is brisk, even a bit jaunty as she heads back towards periodicals, but it's a broken jaunty walk, a couple of small limps are hidden in it, maybe a bad knee. The woman is balding, restless, industrious. While I write this she heads back the way she came, empty handed and just a tick slower. As a shelve I see her walk past, back and forth, half a dozen more times on a mission I will never discover.

And what's the point of all this? 

I just wanted you to know it's not a sitcom around here all the time.

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