Not Just Another Trip to the Library

A shameless story of my own physical prowess (but not really) and sense of altruism (but not really)

As my friends, family, acquaintances, and readers of this blog know, I’m a big fan of literature.  I like to read, and my small apartment has A Lot of books in it.

As I mentioned in a previous entry, “a lot” is a rather non-specific quantitative expression.  However, thanks to my well-channeled and totally-not-weird OCD, I can tell you with particularity that I have, on my shelves right now, precisely 1,383 books, organized by owner (Ashley’s or mine), fiction/nonfiction, and the author’s name.

This enormous quantity of books is not without its downside: nearly every cubic foot of our living room houses a bookshelf, including a full-sized Ikea Billy balanced precariously over a radiator, kept from immolation only by my wife’s engineering prowess.  For that reason, we recently identified several dozen books that- for reasons of duplication or obsolescence- we decided to donate, and put in the trunk of our car.

And by “recently,” I mean about six months ago.

This weekend, we are taking a trip that will push our vehicle to the limits of  its carrying capacity, between passengers and their luggage.  Because of this, it became suddenly urgent that these books be relocated from the trunk to a suitable place of donation.

After a brief online search, I identified the library in Bayside as a suitable recipient.  It is located just three blocks from where I work, and accepts just about any donation short of last week’s compost, for shelving or resale.

Now, because of my huge surplus of at-home reading, I am not a member of the local public library; I have my own literary demons to slay without borrowing any additional reading material.  This would be my first trip to the Bayside library, and I was excited to bestow upon them dozens and dozens of my expendables.

However, on this particular Thursday, I parked fairly far from my office, and in the opposite direction from the library.  No matter- surely I could simply heft the eight oversized bags a few city blocks for drop-off.

So, determined and optimistic, I removed the bags from my trunk and organized them for the aforementioned hefting: four in one hand, three in another, and the largest slung over my right shoulder like a hipster with a backpack.  This must have been, no joke, over a hundred pounds of dead weight.  With a lumbering shuffle-step, I began my trek away from the car.

About a block later, things started to go horribly awry.  With each six-inch step, I became increasingly aware of the constant tug of gravity upon my burdens.  I’m a lawyer, so I’m acutely aware of the importance of law.  Gravity is a law.  I was at risk of gravitational contempt.  I put my bags down, un-slung my shoulder bag, and took a minute to regather my strength.

After that initial rest, the progress almost stopped altogether.  My arms and hands now knew, firsthand, the rush of relief that resulted from such a simple act as Stopping to Rest.  Independent of my will, they undertook to achieve this relief as often as possible, sometimes as often as five steps after the last rest.  One of my coworkers, returning from court, passed by me and honked with a mix of recognition and ridicule.

I was too far from my car to return, and too far from the library to conceive of ever arriving at my destination.

After nearly twenty minutes of maddeningly slow progress, I arrived at my office, approximately halfway to the library.  In a moment of perfect clarity, I realized that I could leave half of the books just inside the door, and make two trips to lighten the burden.

Even with half the load left behind, my overexerted limbs were howling as I made each of two painful, three-block treks from my office to the library.  On the return trip in the middle, my hands and arms were numb.

The actual drop-off was effortless.  The librarian ascertained my purpose, stacked the books on her desk, and offered me a receipt.  I magnanimously declined- unbeknownst to her, I do not itemize my deductions.

One hour after I started my “quick errand” to the library, the task was done.  My limbs still ache, but my trunk is empty.  In the few minutes that have passed since I started this post, feeling has returned to my fingers, so that’s progress.   I will have to remember, upon my return home this evening, to find an ice pack to apply to my bruised ego; it is my sincere hope that this post serves as a personal reminder not to wait six months to make a book donation ever, ever again.

~Andrew

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Published in: on January 9, 2014 at 1:08 pm  Leave a Comment  
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