The Surge

Contrary to popular belief, I do NOT spend quite all of my time seething with impotent rage. Yes, it is part of my exercise routine, but I do like to vary it occasionally. How can you be truly bitter if you aren’t cheerful on occasion, just for the contrast?

That being said, yes, I WAS glaring at you when you pulled up with your books one day last week. This is because we were undergoing what I have always called a “Surge” (I was using this twenty years ago, but I don’t have it trademarked, and its use by the military has nothing to do with us.) A surge occurs when, for no reason I can understand, everybody decides to donate books on the same day. I suppose the weather has something to do with it, and the number of times the Book Fair has been mentioned in the media, but these things don’t correlate perfectly. I have seen surges on days when the wind chill is about 9, and I have seen surges in the middle of October, when nobody’s really writing about the Book Fair at all.

I’ve never decided which surge is more annoying: when the books coming in have obviously been fished out of dumpsters behind junior college libraries or when they have come from some collector who is parting with the crown jewels. Last week we had the second kind.

“But that’s great!” you cry. “You want lots of good books, right?” Oh, my innocent little prunepit, let me tell you about it.

Car pulls up. “Got some books for you. My grandfather collected 19th century archery books.”

“Oh, that sounds good. Let’s get those seven boxes….”

SUV pulls up. “I have to clean out my house. This is my first trip.”

“That’s more Enid Blyton than I’ve ever seen in one place. Let’s get those twenty boxes moved….”

Truck pulls up. “This is part of that African-American collection we were bringing in.”

“Great! Let’s move those fifteen boxes….”

Car pulls up. “I figured this was a good day to move stuff out.”

“Is that a blue ribbon from the Columbian Exposition? By all means, let’s get those moved….”

SUV pulls up. “I’m back! This is the next load.”

“Do you have EVERY book Anne McCaffrey wrote? Wait, are those Harry Potters autographed? Let’s move these….”

Car pulls up.

I sort, price, and pack books in a cinderblock room. There is NO REASON I should come home from work with a sunburn because I’ve been unloading boxes all the dang day. At least I assume this face color is caused by that and not by the stress of thinking “I have to get these inside before a book-pocketing malefactor or stray raincloud comes by. And it’s the end of June; I have just a couple of weeks to get…is that a car pulling up?”

By the way, the Library is adding that blue ribbon to the collection (Her name was Bertha, and she won it for being the best mare at the show. All jokes about the mare of Chicago can be forwarded to the Dead Letter Office; I’ve heard ‘em all.) But we honestly do have the signed Harry Potters (if I can authenticate the signatures), the Enid Blytons, the books on archery (thought the library might take some of those), and a box of Life and Oggi (sort of the Italian Life magazine), the signed Babe Didrikson, the program from William Gillette’s farewell tour as Sherlock Holmes, and a HEAP of signed romance and science fiction novels, and everything ever published by Anne McCaffrey, and some nineteenth century hymnals, and two fans, and a stereoscope with some really funny cards, and a Navy kepi, and…oh, I don’t know. I haven’t had time to OPEN some of these boxes yet.

(And there are people who ask why we don’t want book donations in July.) 

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