Warm thoughts

by John MacBeath Watkins

Build a man a fire, you keep him warm for the night.

Set a man on fire, you keep him warm for the rest of his life.

Okay, if you know me, there's about a 20% chance you've already heard that joke. I can't do any better, I've been working 7 day weeks since the last week of february and our last day as an open shop was Tuesday. Chuck and Frank are gone, and I miss them terribly, the thrift store from the Methodist Church (oh, those Methodists!) has taken about half the remaining books, and I have a cold. The most intense part of moving out (except for the psychological pain of the cats leaving) is still ahead, my muscles feel like mud and my brain has a strange resemblance to lime jello. I've got too many shelves left and the Methodists benefit from far more books left than I expected. And well they should, some good friends of mine were married in that church, and it's a great asset to the community. I'm agnostic on the subject of God's existence, but not on the subject of the good churches can do.

It is a bit painful, after months of sale prices, to see how many good books are left. I'm still finding books I can list on the Internet for far more than I had them priced in the shop. A couple decades of choosing the best books, culling the rest, had me with excellent stock, but the foot traffic changed, and the customers were going to the Internet instead of the shops, so going Internet only made sense. Especially with Chase Bank being willing to pay me to move out of my space. And this change will allow me to help out my folks, who are getting old, as will we all if we're lucky.

So it's goodbye, University District, I've enjoyed having my shop there, even in the bad old days when there were so many tweakers I once commented that, as Obiwan put it, "you will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy." That was after a tweaker we'd caught stealing came back that night and used a curbstone to break out a tempered-glass window that had been put in when the jewelry store was in the space and stole some valuable books. The district is better now, and I'll miss the interaction with so many of our delightful customers. I admit that when I realize I'm having warm thoughts my immediate reaction is to leap from the word "warm" to my sometimes morbid sense of humor, but I honestly will miss having an open shop in the city.

The new adventure begins.