[est. reading time: 2’17”]
I answered the ad, called the toll-free number and told them I was available. Not that I really knew what kind of job it was or how much it paid, but that I had actually gotten off my lazy ass was such a momentous change that I felt like celebrating. So I got my coat, put on some real shoes and walked out the door.
It was bright outside, it seemed at least two seasons had passed since I last was outside. As if I had gone from fall to spring in the time span of just one short phone call. I started walking south so I could feel the sun on my face and found myself humming a tune. This is ridiculous I thought, I haven’t even gotten the job and already I feel like a million bucks. Talk about empowerment.
I continued on Church street until I found myself in front of this little bookstore with faded books in the window. I had never actually gone in, but I had always liked the fact that the proprietor of the shop evidently cared so little about selling. As if living with all those books filled with words, those virtual lives of heartbreak and adventure, were actually more than enough. Or perhaps he was like some dictator, forcing all his subjects to stay within the confines of his little shop. A miniature North-Vietnam where literary heroes dreamed of freedom, of their papery skin being touched by other new lovers. Today was the day I would go in and save some of these desperate characters, grant them asylum on my organized bookshelves.
A little bell rang as I entered, the place obscure and dusty as you would expect, a slight musty smell gave away that this was not a new bookstore. My eyes adjusted to the light and in the corner I saw someone with their back towards me. “Hello?” No answer. “Do you mind if I look around?” I took his silence as a ‘No’ and made my way to the photography books. Lots of old stuff, faded photographs of people who have been long dead and forgotten. A few compilations, some nature books and then my eye caught a Technicolor glimpse at the bottom of a pile. It was a collection ‘Kodak moments’ from an early Colorama campaign from the fifties and sixties, these beautiful panoramic images depicting the myth of American lives during those optimistic years. I immediately fell in love with those cardboard families and their brightly colored happiness, holiday scenes, national monuments and leisure time activities. Maybe it is true that life was better in the old days? I asked the man how much the book cost. ‘Eight bucks’. This day was just getting better and better.