Different Kind of Smart (Episode #98234)
I’m at the library, and I see a sign for a huge used book sale happening in the basement. 10,000 books! Most of them only 25 cents!
I think I will mosey on down there. Perhaps the book I’m looking for — an older Curtis Sittenfeld novel — will be in the fiction section.
I clomp downstairs and immediately find the book sale room. It’s the room they use for story time with the librarian or special programs at the library. Currently it is packed with books, arranged by genre, and patronized by two elderly ladies.
I slip into the room, and they both look at me curiously but go back to shopping. They must be wondering what a hip, 40-something year old woman like myself reads. I browse the fantasy section, science fiction, and horror before I head back to literature. The women keep looking at me, and I keep looking at them, thinking about how wonderful it is that these 80-something year old women are browsing sports encyclopedias. Perhaps they were Olympians in their youth. No… wait… they are staring at me… perhaps they were NOT Olympians but they wanted to be and now they are staring because they are jealous that I grew up in an age where girls played more sports.
I turn the corner and spot a copy of Flatland by Edwin Abbott. I immediately snatch it off the shelf, which causes one of the elderly women to turn around in alarm. I hold it up triumphantly, grinning. “I CANNOT walk by a copy of Flatland without buying it, you know?”
“What are you doing?” the woman asks.
“I’m… I’m buying this copy of Flatland. It’s a math story… about dimensions… flat… land.”
“The sale isn’t open until Saturday,” she admonishes. She looks at the other woman for backup. The other woman picks up another stack of books and starts sorting them. Like… putting them out on tables, sorting them. Not browsing sports books for herself.
“Oh,” I say in a small voice and put back the book. “Well, I will definitely be back next Saturday because… you have Flatland.”
I duck out of the room and race upstairs, checking the sign on the way out which — indeed — states that the sale is days away. But even worse, as I run to my car, I realize that a smarter person would have pulled a crisp dollar out of her wallet and offered 4 times the asking price in order to get the slim novella. But, as we all know, I’m a different kind of smart.