Sometimes The Day Ends Just The Way You Expect

18 August, 2010 | | 6 Comments

Sometimes, not so much.

Arriving home from work, SOBUMD and I hit on a plan – cook and eat dinner, then load the books we’ve been planning on selling into the car and take them out to a somewhat local bookstore known for buying used books.  Since most of the books we were considering selling had recently been offered in a yard sale (most of the kid’s books sold), they were already loaded in handy carrying cases and boxes.  We promptly cooked, ate, and set off.

Driving from our house to Manassas is a treat unto itself, on Rt 66, just after dinner.  We made our way to Richard McKay’s Used Books, which requires a moment to describe. 

No, yeah, I mean I need a moment.  Hold on. 

OK, I’m better.  This place has what can only, reasonably, be described as a shitload of books.  I’ve probably been in more bookstores than you have – most of you, anyway, and John, that doesn’t count – because I have a problem with books.  Which, in turn, is why we’re selling some of them: equal parts “pick up some cash” and “clear some of the damn shelves.” 

Anyway, McKay’s is built like a football field, except with bookshelves instead of linebackers.  I’ve been in plenty of used bookstores that could be fit in a small corner of this place and you wouldn’t notice it was there.  It’s huge, big enough that it reminded me of this brilliant comic – which you should check out when you’re done here – and it’s reasonably well organized, I assume in self defense so the staff doesn’t get lost. 

And such staff!  Bookstores tend to attract an eclectic crew, and I’ve always loved that.  The young gentleman helping me was sporting what I can only try to describe as a Leprechaun’s DreadHawk.   Imagine if you will a Mohawk, left for dreads until fully dreadlocked, and then dyed NEON green.  Needless to say, I loved him.  It helped that he was delightfully friendly and professional. 

We brought in our allotment of books and I was given a ticket and told it would be around half an hour while they sorted and priced what they could and couldn’t buy.  (Oh noes, 30 minutes to kill in a bookstore?)  I found several versions of books we were trying to sell to them, which gave me some hope.  I also found a few books I’d been looking for, including a great 12-step guide to getting past your book addiction (I bought two copies).  When the buyers were ready for us, it turned out that they couldn’t see buying most of our books – the total came to $11 in store credit and $9 in cash. 

Of course, we promptly spent all but $3 of that on books.

Total take so far, $3 and some books I’d been looking for for years.  I was feeling pretty good about this – and that’s when the evening took a decidedly unexpected bent.  SOBUMD and Number One Son (the girls being in Chicago with the Queen Mother of Pink) had contemplated a late-nite snack run before we went home.  They waffled the idea about for a moment when I made up their minds for them, by virtue of (A) being the driver and (B) needing to pee.  There being a Denny’s in hailing distance, we loaded the unloved books back into the car and went. 

SOBUMD and Number One Son sat, I sat, we ordered drinks – decaf, I might add – and I promptly excused myself to A Men’s Room In A Denny’s In Manassas.

“Sing it!  Dun, Dun, Dun – Another One Bites The Dust!” is playing in the Men’s room.  Very loudly.  My new best friend, who followed me *quite* closely into this small men’s room, was singing along with Freddie Mercury at what I hope was the top of his voice.  If he could have gotten any louder, I’m sure he would have.  I’m sure, because MY Boyfriend Is Fabulous.  What’s a guy to do?  I snapped my fingers and sang along with him.  Between me and boyfriend and Freddie, we OWNED that can.

I made as graceful an exit as I could while only washing my hands twice and returned to my seat.  Another table was seated behind me, and the only snippet of conversation I heard was the following:  “He’s so far in the closet, he’s finding Christmas presents.”  I had to resist the urge to spin around, do the headroll thing I learned from my friend Angie, and say “I know ya’ll ain’t talkin’ ‘bout MY Fabulous Boyfriend?” 

When I say that I had to resist that urge, I mean I had to, because SOBUMD had reached across the table and was physically restraining me. 

Just to cap off an unexpected evening, Number One Son looked at SOBUMD’s empty Coke Float (she’s *still* awake!) and said, “If you just drank Coke, why don’t you eat a Mento and see if you puke?”

Oh god.  Is this on YouTube?  SOMEone, albeit someone less fabulous than my boyfriend, has to have tried that.  Turns out, yes, yes of course they have.  And yes, he is less fabulous.  Also, crazy. 

Go to Manassas, you never know.  Getting out of the Denny’s used up the last of our bonus $3 from the books, but it was SO worth it.

6 Comments
  1. Sara says:

    Oh, I love me a good used-book store. But since what they’ll buy is determined as much by what they already have as anything, you may be better off selling to a smaller one, unless you’re just in it for the store credit. I usually do a round that ends up something like this: take 4 boxes of books to the big store I frequent most; do NOT accept their kind offer to convey whatever they don’t want to the Salvation Army for me; get store credit for about half; take the remaining 2 boxes to one of the smaller stores, which takes about 1 box, for cash; take the remaining 1 to another store, which takes about half a box, also for cash; drive around a week or two with the half-box of books in my car; back to the original store, where they take all but 3, for store credit (see, it’s not that they didn’t want them — it’s inventory-driven!); spend most of that store credit on new books!; wrap a rubber band and a piece of paper that says “donation” around the remaining 3 unloved books and drop them through the book slot at the library, where they get sold off for $0.50 by the volunteers’ organization, which I guess helps keep them in coffee.

  2. Kecia says:

    I’m so confused. I’m going to need to read it several more times, but don’t have time right now. You lost me at “needing to pee”. Understand that I need clear, simple language since I’m getting so old.

    Thank you

  3. admin says:

    For K_, just to clear up any misunderstandings:

    Complete stranger follows me into the can and we both wind up singing to Freddie Mercury, who was of course as queer as the $3 bill I had left over from the bookstore. The stranger might be gay, might not. Me, buy me some cheese fries, you never know. We sing together, a beautiful shared experience; he’s my new best friend.

    No one heard us. In Manassas, no one can hear you play air guitar.

    I sat back down. The people behind me were talking about someone else, not cognizant that I exist. Perhaps I didn’t exist just then – might have been out of my head for a swatch, who can tell? Heard the line, wrote it down. Boyfriend paid and left – he doesn’t write, he doesn’t call.

    Only in Manassas.

  4. Kirsty Sayer says:

    LOL your explanation to K might just be the funniest part of this very funny post.

  5. ugga de boogadie says:

    this is the best post you ever wrote. i will treasure it always.

  6. Christine Bottka says:

    A Book Lover to his Wife:

    Leaning his body into hers, his breath moving over the fine hair of her ear’s lobe, he whispers, “I just bought a Kindle.”
    Her body shutters, her eyes flutter shut, and her voice deepens in response. “God baby, that’s so …so… hot, I love it when you talk dirty.”

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