i was able to while away some time in barnes and noble today, an obvious treat for this ravenous reader. i love wandering amongst the shelves, my eyes eagerly gobbling up new releases, my mind furiously taking notes on additions for future bookstacks. i’m lucky enough to have a couple of gift cards in my pocket – pure gold, these are, and i guard them tightly until i find something fitting to spend them on. it can’t be just any book, you see, it must be something i know i will love, a book that will remain on my shelf forever.
wandering through the fiction section in search of short story collections, i chanced to overhear someone talking on their cell phone. i looked up to see an older gentlemen at the end of the aisle, speaking rather loudly into his phone. he was dressed in faded jeans and a plaid shirt (the kind that begs for a bolo tie), with creased leather cowboy boots on his feet.
“i managed to get rid of $12.00 worth,” he was saying, frustration evident in every word, “but i sure don’t know what else i can get.”
he moved on, and i continued to wander as well, but our paths crossed once again as i was standing in line to make my purchase, and he hesitantly approached me.
” ‘scuse me, ma’am,” he asked, proffering a barnes and noble gift card, “this has $18.00 left on it, and i wondered if you’d be willin’ to give me cash for it?”
for a moment, i was completely nonplussed. then i realized that the conversation i overheard earlier had been a lament about his inability to find enough purchases to use the value of his gift card.
how amazing, i thought later. here i am, a ravenous reader, who covets gift cards to bookstores as if they were passports to heaven. and here is another human being who sees the same gift with utter dismay.
much as i might view a gift card to bass outfitters, or some other sporting goods mega store.
it does take all kinds to make a world.
and yes, i put him out of his misery and bought the card.