I’m crazy for books. Always have been. They carried me through a childhood absent of Zoloft, a marriage short on success, and more bad haircuts than I care to recall. I coped with none of these well, but here I am, still breathing. Without books to pull me through, I probably would have ended up pumping gas, sans an ability to pump gas, scraping pennies together for my next latte. (Okay, that’s my life now, sans the pumping. But you know what I mean.)
At one point, I accumulated more books than I could accommodate, forcing me to sell “Anna Karenina” back to my local used bookstore. How this pained me! Despite my torturous, if periodic, boredom, I’d battled through Anna’s interminable pages just to know, in the depths of my puny soul, that I’d done it. Because, damnit, I had. (For the record, I have no interest in the lives of Russian farmers. Nor will I ever).
“Anna Karenina” was heavy and thick; it had presided prominently at the center of my centerpiece bookcase. It had announced, in its own quiet way, that I’d persevered through its pages to unimpeachable triumph. I wanted that book there. I needed it there. But in time, my choice was either displaying it for the sake of pride or letting it go, to let new life in.
Ambivalent, I chose to let new life in.
Witness to my ongoing literary turmoil, my friend Albert, an engineer, gave me a bookcase he no longer needed. On a Saturday afternoon, he hoisted it into my apartment and set it against the wall beside my bed. I was thrilled. At last, room for more books!
I wish my tale ended there. But alas, it does not. Along with the bookcase, Albert brought a digital camera (and tripod, of course. That’s just him) to take pictures of me for my Match.com. profile. He took a few of me in the kitchen. Too blue. A few in the living room. Better, but a bit too dark. Finally we ventured into the bedroom. I propped myself up against a few pillows and smiled widely into the lens. And in these shots, all was pleasing to the eye. It seemed we’d finally found success.
Not until viewing the photos later did I notice it. Despite my numerous and enthusiastic claims to be an avid reader in my Match profile, I was positioned before a totally bare bookcase.
A totally bare bookcase.
I knew there was a simple fix to this. After all, there’s little in the physical world that an engineer with a tripod can’t manipulate to meet his ends. Either I, or the bookcase, would be cropped out. Regardless which, the lighting would be superb.
I told myself I could live with this. I’d have my beloved books, and most likely a boyfriend who derived his sustenance through reality TV. Provided he was cute, with decent hygeine, we just might have a chance.