Working for the Weekend

            So we have this NATO Summit coming up, and everybody is going into “Better Safe Than Sorry” mode.  “You can’t be too careful,” people tell me.  You can, actually, but let’s not quibble on such a nice day.

            It could be that everyone is correct and traffic will be ruined and the city will be shut down by unnameable threats, but it’s all sounding a lot like Y2K to me.  You remember: we were urged to take out all our savings in gold since banks would collapse, and stock up three months’ worth of food and water, and buy a gun because civilization would collapse at midnight December 31, 1999.  We’ll see.

            Anyway, you should probably avoid dropping off any books between, say, May 17 and May 22.  This is for your own good: getting stuck in traffic is no fun even if you do have a lot of stuff to read with you.  As usual, I’m only thinking of you.  It isn’t really that I’m afraid I’ll open a box and find a bomb.

            I’m afraid I’ll open a box and find books.

            By the way, we have had a goodly number of donations this past Smurfish week, and I am constrained to inquire whether any of you people have heard of this thing called a box.  You can’t be saving ALL the cardboard in the house to cover broken windows after the riot squad passes through the neighborhood.

            Not one, not two, but three donations have started with a phone call that could be summarized, “We have an apartment full of books.  Bring boxes.”  The first one wound up using 135 boxes, the second one 75.  I haven’t had the strength to schedule the third one yet.  Oh, they were good books, all right, heavily Britophilic, in one case involving so many classics of English literature that I’d never heard of in my life that it was quite humbling.  That shipment I mentioned which included all those damaged treasures was from another Anglophile.  This involved, if you’re interested, four different editions of Lark Rise to Candleford, and no fewer than six of The Natural History of Selborne.  It was all so lush and green that I yearned for a copy of Cold Comfort Farm as a chaser.

            But do you know what packing up 210 boxes of even nice books does to my supply of empties?  And I shall have to spend a few more of them on that person who dropped off a couple hundred records but took her boxes home with her when she left.  I did NOT which of you carried his 1966 Encyclopaedia Britannica up the front steps four volumes at a time, but I just know you’re an interesting person, too.  I wish I’d been there.  I could get your Mommy’s phone number and ask if she knows you’re out.

            Tes, I KNOW what I’ve said about banana boxes, but a banana….well, I was going to say that a banana box is better than no box at all, but I’m going to have to think about that.  Just try to find some nice cardboard container, would you?  It’s deductible.  When we note on your receipt: “two boxes of books”, that does mean you gave the boxes as well.

            And don’t bring me any next weekend.  Yes, I realize Memorial Day weekend is the next weekend after that, and we are closed.  That makes two consecutive weekends when you shouldn’t bring me anything, but if you’ll try to survive NATO, I’ll try to survive that.

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