Been doing a lot of this shit called “working” lately, which has effected severe cuts into my valuable tanning time (which holds priority even over sleping time, let alone blogging time), but here’s a breather and an opportunity to report on that very work. Sort of.
Seems I find myself in the north Florida city of Gainesville last week, over 300 miles up the turnpike and I-75. Long ride, and that bring up a query: Ladies (mostly): why do you insist on driving in the left lane poking along and bottling up traffic? Are you unfamiliar with the little custom of Keeping Right Except to Pass? It’s not only annoying, it’s dangerous, especially when you’re limping along at 60 where the speed limit is 70 and nobody else is going any less than 80. Work with the rest of us on this, mm’kay?
Anyway, insofar as Gainesville is a college town, I figure I will seek out a used book store or two and indulge my appetite, something I can’t do at home because (a) there are damn few used book stores anywhere in south Florida, and (b) Guido has threatened the integrity of my nut sack if she catches me bringing any more book through the door. Note emphasis on “catches me.”
I do some research, and learn that right across University Avenue at the heart of the campus there’s a large store called The Florida Bookstore. At lunch I wander in where I am immediately greeted by a pretty young lady who tells me that “everything in the store is 25% off today.” Off what, I wonder. Balance? Anyway, I gaze around the spacious first floor — sweat shirts, tee shirts, jackets, drinking mugs, shoes, souvenirs…… Where are the books? I ask her. “Second floor,” she replies mechanically, already re-engrossed in her cell phone.
I climb the stairs and look around. Most of the second floor is electronic material, from computers and tablets to batteries, cables, storage devices, and accessories. Cheap computer furniture, even. But there, crowded off in the corner as if an afterthought, are about 6 half-filled bookcases with real, actual books. That’s what’s in Gainesville’s The Florida Bookstore right on campus.
I find a few I want and trudge down the stairs to the cashier, but before I arrive I’m headed off by a guy who’d been rolling around uselessly upstairs. “’Scuse me sir but we need to make note of what books you want so we can check them off our inventory.” He pronounces it, “in-VENT-or-y.” Like, the lab where mad scientists invent things. in-VENT-ory. Down the corridor from the Masturbatory.
He takes my books, scampers back upstairs, then a few minutes later returns them to me with a smile. “Sorry for the inconvenience,” he says, pronouncing it correctly. I’m impressed. I’m impressed also by the gigantic selection of casual clothing on display with the word Gators on everything, or a picture and/or logo of one. What does it say about this culture that its mascot is an overgrown primitive lizard with the intelligence of a whiskey bottle? Gator? I didn’t even touch her.
My next stop is less productive, because The Book Rack isn’t there any more, despite the sign on the directory in the suburban strip mall. I spent 30 minutes both driving and walking around, trying to decipher the address scheme. I go into a liquor store where a very friendly and obliging young clerk man searches on-line for it — it never occurs to this generation to use The Real World to find anything, despite the fact that I’m asking about a commercial property with an address that suggests it should be on the other side of his own wall — and he in fact comes up with a location a stone’s throw away. But I’ve walked past that spot already, and it’s not there.
Finally, I spot an employee of what should be a neighboring store and ask her — she’s never heard of it (nor has she seen the sign). But she directs me to another one about a mile away, which coincidentally is the third and last one on my list.
Book Gallery West. Jackpot. I’m in there an hour, and could have easily doubled the number but I just couldn’t turn my head sideways any more while reading off a list stored on my phone. Old age brings on browsing fatigue. New affliction! Tell Big Pharma there’s money to be made. I trude away with two bags full that I sneak into the house when I get home the following night…….
… but Guido sniffed them out the next day. I’m in big trouble, and my speaking voice is an octave higher. It’s okay. I never wanted children. Just books.