7.22.2008

Help Wanted: Voyeurism Required

I know you. I know you lost a baby last fall, due to a vitamin deficiency. I found out your husband has a prescription drug addition (that he can't kick) and likes gay porn. I know you knit scary scarves, that look like snakes, and give them as hostess gifts. You have a fetish for Ming Dynasty antiques and are trying to put the 'spark' back in your marriage. You love miniature, iced, cupcakes, with pretty pink sprinkles.

I don't want to watch you, but I do; I can't help myself.

You see, one night a week, I sell books. That's it. Simple enough. People come up to me, tell me what they need, and I find them a book. Not actually simple at all, for me, it seems. I over-analyze. Do I make eye contact? Comment on the timelessness of the author? Or naively hand them the book and walk quickly away? My over-thinking-self has to wonder at their motives... Do they want acknowledgement of their interest or are they hoping to remain anonymous? Truly, I have to believe, they are exhibitionists of the written word or they would order online, safe in the confines of their dysfunctional homes. Otherwise, what type of woman sits with her shoes off, next to a stranger reading, "Men Who Cheat and the Women Who Love Them", unless she wants to share? She seems vulnerable, yet full of bravado, non verbally communicating her lovelorn predicament. Part of me wants to pull up a chair, grab a coffee, and chat with her to find out how she came to this point in her life-and if I can help (I am my mother's daughter after all). The other part of me looks away in shame, as she bares her soul to strangers. The indignity frightens me.

Have you come to a point where you are so self-indulgent and isolated that you put a book in front of you, as a testament to your complex character? Or are you holding it as a talisman against prying eyes? Or, even more banal, are you proclaiming unity with a larger cause? Or the most heartbreaking (for me anyway); are you blissfully ignorant of the statement you are making, and just want to read... a book?

Even knowing all that I do about you, I am afraid to ask.

I don't even know your name.

2 comments:

The Kouvolo's said...

Oh that is so good. You should be writing novels girl! But remind me to never come in B&N and buy a sex position book..hhahaa!

Allyson said...

Fabulous blog! I agree with Amanda--you could be a writer. I remember when I was teaching high school and I would go to B&N throughout the year to buy various books for my classroom. I always worried that the help desk person would think I was so juvenile b/c I wanted to know where some silly teenage book was. Well, at least now I know that they did think those things. Haha!