Another in the dubiously interesting series of reports on my day working at the book store. As I approached the store today there was what I described as a "gaggle of girls" standing at the $1 book carts outside, laughing and pointing out things in various books. I would get to know them better as the afternoon progressed.
Two young women inside purchased books. While the first one was buying 3 children's books, the other one was looking at the cover of "Weird Things Customers Say in Bookstores," which Susan has on display, not for sale. "Do you have to be well read to get the joke?" the customer asked.
Thinking I was helping, I pointed out that the guy was asking for books by Jane Eyre, which was actually the title of the book, not the author. She shrugged her shoulders and said "Never heard of it...so you do have to be well read to get this book." She did buy a Spanish dictionary, though.
By now the gaggle had moved inside and was giggling about the fantasy books. They obviously were well read and it was fun listening to them compare books and plots and characters.
A dapper man who looked kind of like Morgan Freeman and who was dressed in a leather jacket and cap with with a music-themed scarf around his neck came in and spent some time rummaging through the music section. I pegged him for a jazz man, though he didn't buy anything.
Then a man with a tall masted clipper ship in full sail tattooed on his calf (he was wearing shorts) came in and headed for the section where we would have books about ships, if we had any. But he ended up buying a book on training horses and a novel by Sinclair Lewis.
The gaggle was now back in Contemporary Fiction and I heard them talking about the plot of "Les Miserables" (one said "No plot spoilers!"). They were sad about Eponine's fate. They discussed the story for some time, but I was busy and wasn't able to eavesdrop for too long.
At 2:30 a well dressed woman with her hair in copper colored tight curls came in looking for books on California history, but she left without buying anything.
The gaggle had now been there for over half an hour and had moved to the foreign language section, where they were discussion "Candide" and reading books in foreign languages. I was impressed at how many languages, collectively, they seemed to speak. My impression of them had risen significantly from when I first saw them outside the store. Ultimately two of them bought copies of "Candide" in French and were going to compare them to see if there were any differences in the two versions.
At 2:50, Bruce, the monochromatic guy who usually wears a hat he's made out of coffee filters came in. He's always dressed completely in white (though today he had black shoes) and his skin is rather pale too. Today he chose a complete illustrated version of Genesis and asked me to put it on hold for him. He then took one of the bookmarks for the store and wrote a note for himself so he would not forget to return for it. He then asked me for a stapler and he stapled the note to the raveled sleeve of his cream colored sweater. Peter told me later that he does this all the time.
At 3, a rumpled student-looking guy dressed all in brown, except for a magenta knit hat perched tall on his head, with sunglasses going over the cap, told me about his neighbor, who has a bird house looking lending library in front of his house, where people can take and leave books. He expressed the hope that more people would do something like that.
A very nice lady came in looking for a specific first edition for a friend of hers. She gave me information on the book ("My Life in the Northwest" by Juliet Kinsey) but didn't leave me her name to contact if we ever saw that book, though I told her the chance of our coming across it were very slight.
A guy walked in and told me he was the one working with the Chinese calendar. I didn't have a clue what he was talking about. He said he is copying the Chinese characters on his boat and that he hopes ducks don't read Chinese. (I gather this was a continuation of a conversation he was having with someone else and didn't realize I wasn't that person.) This guy was quite a character, found an architecture book and brought it to the desk to keep until he had finished looking through the store (in the end, he took that book back because he couldn't figure out how to get it to the person he was buying it for). He sat down on the floor to look at books...
...and then started to leave but came back, remembering that he wanted to look for a book about some war thing and complained that we didn't have a war section. He ended up buying "The Sculptor's Bible" and a history book.
A guy in a rumpled pink shirt wearing a pink backpack and thick glasses came in and squinted at me and called me Christine. He wandered around the store for a long time and left without buying.
"My friend" came in at 4:25 and bought three mysteries which totaled $12.96. When he handed me $13, I laughed and told him that I thought I could make the right change the first time.
Several other customers came in but the last sale I made was to a guy who was looking for anything we might have by Kazanzakis. He was thrilled to find we had five books and bought them all. When I was ringing up his charges I noticed that his name was Katzakis. Kinfolk?
Peter arrived to relieve me at 5:50 and Walt 10 minutes after that and we headed home. I was reading a book called "My Love Affair with England" during the day, which I'm finding confusing because half of the time she is going to marriage counseling with "Lawrence" and the other half of the time she is traveling with "James." This appears to be a series of columns, but not put together in any sort of coherent fashion...and I want to know if Lawrence finally gave up or died.