At least once a week, Adelaide asks me questions about what our lives were like before she was born. Most of civilization divides time between "BC" and "AD," but for Adelaide it's "BA"- Before Adelaide, and "AB"- After Birth.
I mean after the birth of Adelaide. Not actual afterbirth. Ew.
One of her favorite topics is that of me working. She seems fascinated by the thought of my having a job and being involved in something that had nothing to do with her. As a result, I tell her all about what kinds of things I did and what kind of people I came in contact with.
I worked in a bookstore. I tell her about being surrounded by books every day and working with people who love books. We both sigh in contentment at the thought.
I tell her that someone once compared the employees of this bookstore to the Island of Misfit Toys. It was filled with slightly socially awkward people chortling over geek humor and trying not to judge the parents buying "Gossip Girl" books for their young, fragile daughters.
I felt like I fit right in.
I knew I was going to enjoy working with my fellow bibliophiles when loading a bookcase with the then-current best-seller The Da Vinci Code.
I had read the book, and listened in confusion as so many people around me- even those who read a lot of books and have good taste in fiction- lauded the story and gushed about how great it was.
I didn't get it. Part of the problem is that I prefer character-driven stories. I don't care how intricately knotted your plot is, if you populate your book with flat, cardboard characters, I'm not going to like it, because I'm not going to care what happens to the people in it. Hence my distaste for The Da Vinci Code.
I had just finished straightening my display when one of my new co-workers paused as she walked by, tapped the cover of the book, and said, "What a load of crap, huh?"
We got along swimmingly.
I also appreciated the opportunity to work with customers who loved books. Of course, not everyone who walks into a bookstore loves to read, but even they appreciated help and were considerate.
Except for that one contingent. Let's call them a subgenre, given our topic. They were the ones who would respond to your offer of help by immediately declaring, "Oh, I don't read," in a voice dripping with disdain, which would invariably prompt the thought, Right. Because why would you want to raise what is obviously a hopelessly low IQ?
Now, I realize that not everyone loves books. That's okay. Some people prefer television or Twister or pinochle. But don't come into a bookstore and make it clear that you think of yourself as above me in some phantasmagorical hierarchy you've created, okay? It's rude.
I try to leave that kind of stuff out when I'm talking to Adelaide. She doesn't need her mother's baggage along with her own.
Speaking of baggage, have I told you about her newest fear? It's a little thing called first grade, and she has convinced herself that it's going to be just horrible. She was fine until she discovered that her Kindergarten teacher will not, in fact, be accompanying her throughout elementary school with the sole purpose of educating Adelaide Crisler. I tell ya, the nerve of some people...