Saturday, December 24, 2005

Holiday-related Gnome Attacks on the Rise!

I don’t remember the last time I had a white Christmas. One year I think there was a light dusting of snow on Christmas Eve, barely enough to build a decent snowball out of, but I don’t remember when. The presence of snow has never been a necessity, something I was reminded of tonight as I walked through the downtown on the way to my car. The drumbeats of the kid playing the plastic buckets in the square mixed with the guy playing the saxophone by the entrance of the mall. There in the rain with the music and the people rushing by dressed in jeans and Santa hats, I didn’t need snow or Christmas Carols to remind me of what there is to love this time of year; it was all around me. My city folded in a wet mist, glowing in the headlights of the passing cars.

At the store today we were clockwork: ringing, searching, answering the phones and wrapping gifts, gifts and more gifts. No one squabbled or wimped out despite one coworker losing her lunch to the porcelain god. Between customer surges we laughed, danced around to the Rat Pack Christmas Carols, ate cookies, and tried to restock our dwindling supply of books. Before I left we’d run out of 1776; Year of Magical Thinking; Guns, Germs, & Steel; The World is Flat; Marley & Me; and several others.

There’s nothing like the joy of actually finding the book your customer is looking for, seeing their face light up because they’re getting the last copy or a hard to find present. The magic way that time becomes a blur of customers and wrapping, and when you finally look up; it’s almost time to leave.

What I’m trying to say is that despite all my bitching and moaning to the contrary, there is something wonderful about retail at Christmas. There is something that hits me every year, somewhere between the wrapping and the ringing, and reminds me that book people are fun—booksellers too—despite the occasional attitude.

So Happy Holidays to those who celebrate, and happy day off to those who don’t. May you be blessed with the chance to smile, laugh, and have at least one moment of pure happiness these next two days.

Oh, and be careful of those gnomes. They’re the real menace this time of year.

When Gnomes Attack!


Kate R said...

I can relate to that kid's fear and loathing.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the inspiration, Bookseller Chick. So, it's all worthwhile in the end. :)

jarvenpa said...

And happy holidays to you. I just read your self description--that blue book search--and laughed out loud. Though in my town it is generally the mysterious black or red book, no author, title, or subject, but "it's about so big, and my friend was sure you'd have it and know what I mean".