Day Five: The Reckoning

Jeff VanderMeer • May 27th, 2009 @ 10:28 am • Culture, Photos

It started out peacefully enough…

…and we’d managed to miss the international potato art festival.

The trouble started when we decided to check out an interesting-looking bookstore…

…only to discover it was a little too specific for our tastes.

Not to mention the store right next to it–a one-two punch of misery for us as book-lovers.

The nearby Book Warehouse was a little better, although it brought up flashbacks to my days working in one, with a manager who once had us rearrange the entire fiction section face-out in a chessboard dark-light pattern rather than alphabetical and, upon seeing repeat customers, would ask “Why’d they come back so soon?” as if a book were some sort of appliance.

Still, some of the customers didn’t have a real sense of personal space or politeness. Erm, no, that is not all right, lady. Just to see how long this would last, I stood right there for about three minutes while this woman got closer and closer, rooting around my legs looking at the books, with nary an excuse me or a pardon. At one point, I could’ve pushed out my stomach and smacked her in the cheek. Oy. As it was, I was able to snap a couple photos while she was oblivious…

All this unintentional bad luck must’ve turned us into the Flying Dutchman, as not a half hour later, coming off of the highway into a yield-sign with no overflow lane situation, Ann had to slow down and the van behind us smashed into us at 30-40 mph and totalled Ann’s car. The back compacted into the trunk and structural damage along the sides. The shade guards in front just about flew off. Luckily, no one was hurt, just banged up a little. Still, we had four good days before this. But I’m never walking past three such bad-luck bookstores in a row ever again.

This week is all books, all week, with book video, book reports, book reviews, and book analysis forthcoming…

11 Responses to “Day Five: The Reckoning”

  1. Paul Riddell says:

    I think that Rude Lady, like Cat Piss Man, breeds by budding, like sponges. I can understand wanting to get a little closer if given the opportunity, but ASK FIRST. (I had a great conversation with a woman at my local Half Price Books about this, starting with my worrying about getting too close while she was perusing the bottom shelves, and her worrying about being in my way. We both noted that since we were concerned about the other, there was nothing to apologize for.)

  2. Jeff VanderMeer says:

    Yeah, exactly, Paul. But even when I kinda started chuckling, this woman didn’t even notice. It was pretty funny.

  3. Claire says:

    It seems like there are a lot of people these days who are completely oblivious — in SoCal, there are plenty of people who will choose to walk in front of you when you’re looking at a shelf rather than behind you, even if there’s way more space. And, of course, they’d never consider saying, “Excuse me,” or similar, they just barge right through.

    We also have people who will stand behind you radiating annoyance in hope that you’ll read their minds and get out of their way rather than simply say something. (Like Jeff, sometimes after I notice them, I’ll keep pretending I didn’t to see how long it takes before they either say something or just barge through. It probably doesn’t help their mood when I say, “You could always say, ‘Excuse me!'” to them as they blow by… but it’s kind of funny.)

  4. Larry says:

    My youngest brother is usually a bit more direct with those type of “too close” people – either he’ll tell them directly what he’s thinking, or else (in the case of the woman bent over), he’d fart in their ear to let them know that they’re too close for comfort.

    Well, I guess that makes my brother out to be even ruder than the inconsiderates, but it happens, no?

    I myself will often start coughing, as that tends to drive them away in a heartbeat. Anyone else done anything like that?

    And Jeff, sorry to hear about the car damage. I wonder what the other driver’s excuse was for driving that close.

  5. Jeff VanderMeer says:

    He didn’t have one. And he wasn’t that close–he had enough distance between us to ram us pretty darn hard.

  6. Will Hindmarch says:

    Glad to hear everyone’s safe. Here I was thinking, “Jeff, if a stranger being a little obliviously rude to you in a book store is the worst thing that—” and then, “Oh. Shit.”

  7. Terry Weyna says:

    Eek. So sorry to hear about the accident. Hope the other guy was insured (says the former insurance company lawyer).

    I once had someone pass by me in a store so oblivious that she literally sent me flying into a rack of clothes. And was annoyed thereafter to find that I was annoyed. People, sheesh.

  8. Grant Stone says:

    See, that’s why we need those auto-driving cars already.

    And that’s a pretty big Reader’s Digest outlet store. Aren’t they supposed to be condensed?

  9. Steve Buchheit says:

    Glad to hear everybody but the car is okay. The other guy must have been reading one of those $5 Christian steamy-romance novels.

  10. Brendan says:

    Happy that you are all ok!

  11. hellbound heart says:

    shit, mate, talk about an invasion of personal space…..first the lady and then the car!
    er, with the lady bending over in front of you……why didn’t you fart? i think she would have gotten the message then….

    peace and love….

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>