I strongly considered going to the book store today, but decided against it for one very compelling reason: if I went to a bookstore, I would want to buy books.
I know, why else do you go to a bookstore? But this is a conversation I have with myself quite frequently: “What should I do today? Well, what sounds fun? I could go to a bookstore – that sounds fun. No, wait a minute, if I go to a bookstore – I’ll want to buy books!”
To be honest, ‘going to the bookstore’ is just what comes to mind when I think about what sounds fun. I honestly don’t think about the ‘buying books’ part until later. The book store is just that place that I want to go. Other people want to go to the park, or the bar, or a coffee shop, and I want to go to the bookstore.
But when that’s your place to go, you go there a lot. And if you buy books every time, it starts adding up. It’s not like the bar, where you go, drink your drink, and take nothing home (at least, I myself don’t take anything or anyone home. I know that’s not the case for everyone). So, okay, let’s use a different example. It’s not like the coffee shop, where you go, consume what you went there to consume, and go home with nothing. When you go to a bookstore, you bring home what you’re going to consume. And it doesn’t disappear when you consume it.
You have to buy shelves to house what comes home from the bookstore. Though, in hindsight, once the stacks have overflowed from the shelves and taken up every spare corner of your living space anyway, you realize you might as well have skipped the shelves, since they’re now only being used to house a fraction of your books.
So it becomes a bit of a problem. But you can’t rid of any books, because that would be like getting rid of your children. And by and by you find yourself at that bookstore again, because where else are you going to go, and home come more children – they needed homes, they really did! – to be stacked on top of the others.
At this point I really have no more room for more books. ‘Well, why don’t you switch to ebooks, then?’ I hear you asking. WOULD YOU SWITCH TO HAVING E-CHILDREN, IF THAT WERE MORE CONVENIENT?
Excuse me, but I like the living, breathing thing.
It’s just that the book adoption center is where I find myself in all my free time. All those beloved characters, needing someone to love them… All those stifled worlds, needing someone to set them free…
That is why I’ve taken to thinking through what happens at a bookstore before going there. To most people, that’s how they do it every time. The logical cause-and-effect process. They think ‘I want to buy a book; I’m going to go to the bookstore’. But to me, the initial cause is ‘going to the bookstore’, simply because it’s a glorious, wondrous, marvelous place. I don’t consider its temptations; I consider its hominess.
But today I thought it through. I stayed one step ahead of what I consider the tricky scheme of the place. You got me last time, Book Store (and the time before that, and the thousand times before that), but I’m onto you now. I know what you’re about. You’re the place that tries to sell me books whenever I go there. And I always fall for it!
But not today. Today I outsmarted you. Today I avoided your brilliant scam.
Don’t worry – I wont be gone forever. But when I want a book, I’ll tell YOU. Not the other way around.
Especially because you always seem to tell me I want five.