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Today in My History

2001:  Alphabet Soup
2002:  I Am Woman, Hear Me Scream
2003:  Why Medical Staff Goes Grey
2004:  A Good Loss
Comedy and Tragedy
2006:  Five Random Things
2007:   There Comes a Time
2008:  Round Babies and Pointy Babies
2009:  The Guestbook
2010:  "The Best Day Ever"
2011:  Trip Down Memory Lane
Flunking "Smart Phone"
2013: Seemed Like a Long Day

Bitter Hack
Updated: 1
Woodland Honors
Opera House Treasure
(feature story)

Books Read in 2014
"The Ocean at the End of the Lane"

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mail to Walt


17 January 2014

So I got this crazy idea this morning.  I've been doing so much journaling...in like books...for Swap Bot swaps that I'm getting into this whole handwriting business -- on a small scale.  And I thought that since what I spend my Thursdays doing is sitting and reading (albeit in  a book store), that for the next couple of weeks, or more, I would make my Thursday entry "Today at Logos," talking about all the weird and wacky things that happen in the book store.  This is inspired by the book "Weird Things People Say in Bookstores" and an article Walt's cousin Ernie sent me, which is not, but reads like it could be, a supplement to that book.

I was so enthused by this idea that I actually took a notebook with me to the store, intending to make it not only fodder for today's entry, but also kind of a journal, in shorthand, of my days working at Logos.

UnFORtunately, I chose to start this project on the deadest, dullest day at Logos that I have spent since I started working there!  However, undeterred, I determined to carry on anyway and see if I can make boring sound mildly interesting.   Ready?  Here goes...

Neither Susan nor her husband Peter were there when I arrived.   Susan had gone off to the Bay Area, and the store was being manned by their son, a nice fellow, and the "dad" of that black dog who dressed in a Santa costume to give verisimilitude to the holiday season for shoppers.  The dog wasn't there today, though.  I got the report that it had been a fairly slow morning.  I was alone in the store at 2 p.m., and the truth of that "dull morning" was demonstrated in that it was 25 minutes before my first customer arrived, and more than 30 minutes after that before the second one came in.

The first guy was looking for books by G.K. Chesterton, or Jules Verne and when he couldn't find either, he bought a copy of Stephen King's "Carrie."  Similar genres, I'm sure.

At 3:08, a woman came in to buy one of our outside bargain books (total cost: $1) and to ask if I knew where she could register for a quilting class.   I did not, but gave her some suggestions of where she could ask.

Next customers arrived at 3:30 (I got a lot of reading done today!), These were two girls carrying cups and with earphones in their ears, who looked around for less than five minutes and then left, without buying anything.

At 3:40 (the intervals are getting shorter now!  WooHoo!) a guy looking like Rasputin in jeans and a hoodie was wandering around the book shelves.   He had a patrician nose.  I'm not sure I even know what a patrician nose is, but that was the first thing I thought of when I saw him in profile.  He left without buying anything.

While I was writing notes about him. a woman came in with a bag of Spanish language books to donate. 

So far I had been there nearly 2 hours and had sold a whopping $5.78.

At 4:07 a round, red-faced man came in with a guy who looked so much like him it could only have been his son. They wandered around for awhile and while there, Dad got a phone call and  started relaying information about, I presume, his wife, who seems to be in the hospital.  Dad and son had just come from the hospital and decided to stop in Davis for coffee and to wander around the book store.  From the report, I gather that the wife is doing well and will be coming home soon. The dad bought a Steinbeck and a Hemmingway and the son bought "Baghdad by the Bay," by Herb Caen and didn't blink when I expressed delight at seeing the San Francisco Chronicle's favorite columnist's book.  (There is even a street in SF named for Herb Caen after he died.)

While the man and his son were there, a man rushed in from outside with one of the bargain books in his hand.  It was "Sewer Root control" and he paid for it and left so quickly that I had the impression his sewer was bubbling up through his front lawn and he was going to run home and fix it immediately.

Another woman with coffee and an iPhone came in and thrust the phone at me to show me the cover of a book by Paul Tuffts called "How Children Succeed" and wanted to know where she could find it.  I should have told her that her best bet would be at the new book bookstore down the block! 

Those four customers had come in between 4 and 5, which is traditionally the busiest hour of my day, and has been since I started working at Logos, though today there were significantly fewer people, but still the busiest hour of the day.   Usually the guy I call "my friend," because I don't know his name, comes in during that 4-5 hour, but he was a little late today.  He always buys something and his tastes run to very eclectic, from history to science to art to trains to origami.   They are all over the place and today he was thrilled to find old maps and bought them.

I have developed performance anxiety around this guy.  I always screw up his sale and have to do it over at least once (tonight it was 4 times).  I don't have a clue why, except maybe that he watches me so closely and lets me know when I've made a mistake.

I had been slogging through my book, "Day of the Locust," an ugly book by Nathaniel West about Hollywood in the Depression, but not the glamorous side of Hollywood, the seedy side with a hero named Homer Simpson.  This book was written in 1939, so I guess we all know now where the name of the cartoon character came from.  Anyway, around 5 p.m. I had gotten to a cock fighting scene that was entirely too graphic for my taste!

A family with 3 kids came in and I did a bad thing.  When they spent time in the children's section and the oldest boy came out holding a book and beaming, I asked him, brightly, if he was going to take that one home with him.  He smiled and nodded.  Then Dad had to convince him to put it back and I felt guilty for making him think that it was going to happen.

I guess I was still rattled from my "friend's" sale because the next customer, who had two literature books, came and I rang her up wrong too.  Bad Bev.  Bad Bev.

At 5:30 another Dad with 2 kids came in. He was looking for Vampire books for kids.  They ended up buying "Scary Stories for Sleepovers," and his son proudly told me that his friend was thinking about having a sleepover and he wanted to be ready for it.

Someone asked the name of the Canadian author who had just won a Pulitzer and I was able to find it on my cell phone (no computer at the office), which made me feel proud.  (It was Alice Munro.)  We didn't have any of her works, but he bought two books of poetry for $9.72.

The last customers before Peter returned to the store to relieve me were an older couple who came in and expressed delight at Logos' policy of donating profits to Doctors without Border and Save the Children.  He wandered around in the fiction section, she browsed cookbooks, but they didn't buy anything.

So that was My Day at Logos today.  I don't have a clue if it was interesting or not, but I may try another one next Thursday because it's fun to take notes and then to put together an entry like this at the end of the day.



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