Around this time every year, an organization near my town puts together an outstanding book sale. I have been a loyal attendee for at least eight years now and look forward to it so much that when I missed the opening day and the second day this year, I actually woke up at 4AM on Friday worried that I would miss the rest of the sale.
The last day of the sale is called "box day". Pay ten bucks and take as many books as will fit in a box. You can also pay five bucks for a grocery bagful of books. This year, between "box day" and "half price day", I scored about 40 books. Not that impressive. I saw people - including several illiterate, Facebook-obsessed teenagers - walking out with at least a hundred books each, wearing a proud shit eating grin on their faces.
(Side bar: Just how will the Kindle and the iPad affect this book sale in, say, ten years? I don't want to know.)
So there was this girl of about thirteen or fourteen, clearly a book nerd, walking out with a pile of books large enough to impress the guys at the Library of Congress. As she struggled with the door, in walks this schmuck who takes a look at her stash of books and says loudly "bet you don't get out much, do you?"
I had half a mind to clobber him on his head with my newly-acquired hardcover copy of Translations from the Chinese (thanks, Falstaff - reading those Chinese poems on your blog got me in the mood for more Chinese poetry) but it was at the very bottom of the bag. (The most accessible book was a slim paperback on Linguistics and that would have been no good.)
Upon returning home, wife and I did the obligatory how-do-I-make-the-time-to-read-all-this** and the oh-shit-I-already-own-this-book. Who cares. I plan on not getting out much for the next one hundred and seventeen years. That, and not showering, should give me enough time to read everything in the collection.
**This used to be a practical concern. Now it's turned into a terrifying meditation on mortality. Oh Lord, you gave us such short lives and economically-priced books.