Today I had my quarters ready for a top-secret phone booth mission (putting “surprise” coins into the return slots), but there was such a crowd beside the payphone I chickened out.
You may wonder why the presence of spectators would prevent me from “seeding” the phones? I’m not quite sure. I guess I could just leave money in random open spaces throughout the city but that doesn’t conjure up the nostalgia of childhood I guess. (Checking all vending machines for spare change back when you could actually buy something with spare change.)
With that mission put on hold (so to speak), I redirected my energies to a down-at-the-heel little book store nestled underground at a nearby subway station. The brave owner (anyone who sells books for a living these days is brave in my … um… book).
I’ve been trying to save money lately by borrowing novels from the library so it’s been months since I’ve stepped into this store. It’s a jumble of publisher’s overruns and marked-down paperbacks but the store has a good stock of mysteries, which I love to read.
The owner is a warm but quirky guy who could be Barack Obama’s nerdy brother. His glasses have thick lenses and when he talks, his eyes scan the ceiling as if his words are written there. He’s also very knowledgeable about all things bookish — toss out the name of an author and he can usually rally back with their whole bio and bibliography. Try that out on your local Chapters clock-puncher.
So even though I’ve got a stack of library books at home that I’ve yet to read, I want to help keep his business going, so I plunked down my $4.99 for a ripping Glaswegian mystery by Ian Rankin. We then chatted briefly about Barbara Kingsolver’s latest, and he bid me a “Thank you for your custom.”
Was this a good deed? Hmmm. Maybe more of a …. (wait for it) … good read (sorry, couldn’t resist).
P.S. I’m in the wilds of Northern Vermont for a few days — new good deed territory — but posts may be sketchy till Monday. Have a wonderful weekend!