I’m a bookseller. It’s Christmas. The last week or so has been hectic.
It has been:
The woman who thrust her credit card so hard into the machine that it rejected the card. She also grabbed the receipt while it was still being printed, trying to walk away with it before it even really existed.
The man who rang to put a book on hold, wondering if we’d perhaps be open 24-hours a day until Christmas eve. (We’re not. We’re a tiny shopping centre.)
The woman who asked if we had the first Heroes of Olympus book, and left the store in a huff before I’d even finished saying “No, I’m sorry, but I can check if another store has it in stock for you if you’d like.”
The man who stood in the middle of the store looking terribly lost and sad.
“Do you need a hand?”
“I need something for the girl.”
“Okay, what’s she interested in?”
“She likes the Dalai Lama.”
…This was the only information he would give me. He ended up with a biography about an inspiring horse. This shit happens when you don’t work with your bookseller.
Someone’s Grandad who came in wearing a YOLO shirt. Amen, Grandad.
The woman who muscled through our closed doors.
“Where are your books about antique watches?”
The last customer of the day yesterday, who demonstrated exactly how all Christmas shopping should go down. He named the stereotype that his giftee most easily fit into, and I handed him books and loosely outlined themes. As such:
(Handing him Walking on Trampolines), “Family drama, lady friendships.”
Him, holding up Eat Pray Love: “Single girl self-esteem?”
“Mmmm, more divorcee self-esteem, empowerment.”
“Okay yeah there’s one of those too. Done.”
I’m not trying to imply that you shouldn’t put any thought into your Christmas presents. But if you’ve left it until December 22nd, chances are you’re not putting a huge amount of thought in anyway. And when it’s ten minutes past closing time and you don’t actually care whether this book contains a dying elderly person, or if that book covers Provence or Marseille too, then just trust us when we recommend something.
And finally, the sleep that happens at the end of these days. The sensation of my bones giving up beneath my flesh, when all of me seems to fall right through the mattress. To sleep like that every day of the year, without first putting in the work!