20 June 2009

Rogue Rubber Bands and Humanoid Polar Bears

Let me begin by saying that working at a bookstore is nothing like working at a library. There is no shushing. There is no storytime. There are absolutely no frumpy brown "Mister Rogers"-type sweaters, nor are there large and outdated reading glasses with a chain on the back to keep them around one's neck. As a matter of fact, I try to look decently cute when I work, which has resulted in no less than one proposal for a date and three other complimentary situations.

Why couldn't this happen to me when I was single? I digress.

There are a plethora of other occupational hazards. Just the other day, I was standing behind the registers calling customers who had special ordered books that had arrived. Yippee! Hurrah! Your book is in! As I pulled a rubber band back around a book (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, I believe) to hold its special order slip in place, it snapped. At that exact moment, I also felt a little tickle in my throat and started to cough. And then the tickle turned into the feeling of something being stuck. Interminably. Dyllon stopped his work at a nearby register and turned around, "Are you okay?" A customer in the Travel section looked over and raised an eyebrow. I looked up at them, red-faced from coughing and my hand on my throat, "I think I just swallowed a rubber band." They stared back.
"How did you do that?"
"I don't know."
Mary, the toys manager, suggested sticking my finger down my throat to work it out. Dyllon, a nursing student, suggested letting it go through my system ("You'll find it later" he said with a wink). I chose the latter and was therefore acutely aware of the feeling of something traveling down my esophagus for the next hour or so.

About the time I stopped feeling the effect of the Rogue Rubber Band, I was finishing up my special order phone calls and placing another rubber band on another book (ever, ever so gingerly) when a large shadow cast by a large subject covered my work surface. I looked over to the other side of the counter to see the gargantuan customer that needed help and beheld a man in his sixties shaped like a rugby ball with a thick white beard and a large, flat nose.
"Lars the Polar Bear." he said.
My mouth opened a little. Is he introducing himself? I wondered. He did look exactly like a polar bear in human form--extremely pale, extremely large, with almost disconcertingly dark eyes. I could easily imagine him lumbering through a snowstorm, his hand over his nose to hide his only non-camouflaged bit. "Uh......" I mumbled, wondering what exactly he was looking for.
"Lars the Polar Bear, you know, the children's series. I got one for my granddaughter here a few years ago and I want to get her another book in the series. Do you have it?"
She probably liked it because it reminded her of Grandpa, I thought, before I responded with an "Oh!" that contained probably a bit too much excitement and skipped over to a computer, searching for the book in question. Once it was found, he lumbered off into the direction of Juvenile Series, his Levis showing a hint of a tail.

Welcome to the only independent bookstore in Juneau.


Anonymous said...

Did you really swalllow a rubber band? I can just imagine the effects that are to come.

Town Blogger Team said...

You're all hooked up for Friday Shoot-outs. Thanks for participating.

I'm excited about seeing Juneau again. My first trip to AK was through Juneau to Pelican to fish for halibut. Juneau is a beautiful place, and must be an exciting place to live.
Thanks again. Gordon

Becky said...

This post was hilarious, Cindy! I laughed when I imagined you thinking that Grandpa Lars was introducing himself. So great!