Nobody asked, but I thought you might be interested in knowing some of what happens AFTER the Book Fair closes for business on Sunday night. Yes, we do all collapse into sobbing heaps at the thought that we will not have our merry customers coming through until next year but I mean after that, even.
Monday is the mass clean-up day. Certain charities arrive, clutching their forms in their hands so we know who they are, and carry off books to put in libraries in jails or civic centers, or to distribute to people who need them, or even just to stock their own book fairs. Once these people have taken their treasures, a select group of volunteers moves in to pack the leftovers back into boxes, find stray bookends (fiendish things: our record so far is finding one ten days after the fair, tucked behind a curtain), and otherwise start the dismantling process. (It’s hard to be sure exactly what percentage of the books is left at this point, but this year we’re figuring 15-16%.)
Tuesday is the day the tables return to Hall’s Rental and the bookcases go back into their usual shelters. The boxes of leftover books are stacked on pallets, ready to be shipped to the good folks who buy all these leftovers in one lump. It is also Kitchen Day. That’s the day when those of us who have been working the Book fair all the way through, eating meals provided by generous donors (Bitsro Zinc, Cafe Baci, Chipotle, D’Absolute Catering, Edwardo’s Natural Pizza, Go Roma, Jewell Events Catering, Occasions Catering, Tri-Star Catering, and Whole Foods Market: patronize these people. Not only are they generous but I can vouch for the food.) have to learn to feed ourselves again. We open refrigerators which have not been opened for about ten days and wonder “What did THAT used to be?”
Wednesday is Fumesday. The gas tank is empty. The engine is running on fumes. For me particularly it is a day of little goals and rewards. “Now, if you move those two boxes there, you can sit and rest.” “Pull all those leftover Whole Foods bags over to that corner, and you can take a break.” “Push that table three feet that way, and maybe you can just crawl under the desk for a nap.”
Thursday is the first day of the rest of the Book Fair. We start sorting the books that really nice but vague people donated during the Book Fair and, hey, we got a 4 foot by 7 foot map dropped off, and somebody called to ask if we ever pick up books, and somebody has an old flute they don’t know what to do with and….
Waddya know? July, 2010 is suddenly just around the corner.