Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Getting all chit chatty

Last week, I debated the merits of attending the preview party at a local Friends of the Library (FOL) book sale, and paying $100 for the privilege of purchasing 48 books. I ultimately decided not to attend the party, and waited until Saturday to attend the sale, fully expecting to find squat.

The good news is that I actually found a few items missed by the hordes of rabid book dealers; the bad news is that I’ve never seen so many penny books in one spot in my life.  The interesting news is that I was “harassed” by a lady with a broken foot in a cast, rolling down the narrow aisles in a wheelchair.

I’ll preface my comments by saying that the sale obviously is open to everyone, but no special consideration is given to people with handicaps other than the room being accessible.  To me, though, common sense dictates that certain situations, like a crowded room with narrow aisles crammed not only with people, but also with boxes, shopping carts, and rolling totes, just aren’t handicapped friendly.  

Despite the apparent obstacles, this lady was determined to look at the books, and had no problem with using her wheelchair, intentionally or unintentionally, as a battering ram, clearing her way up and down each row. It would have been humorous had she not run into my tote and leg while trying to get up close and personal with the small section of books that I was looking at.  I tried to ignore her intrusion, but she decided to get all chit chatty.

“I’m interested in that thing on your belt,” she said. 

When I’m at a sale, I try to stay focused, and while I heard what she asked, I tried to ignore her as I finished scanning the books in front of me.

“Is it a computer?”  Apparently, she was not to be ignored.

“This thing?” I asked, holding up my Dell Axim PDA that I use to scan the books.

“Yeah, what is it?”

“It’s a Dell Axim.”

“What does Axim mean?”

“It doesn’t mean anything. It’s just a name.”

She still seemed befuddled, so against my better judgment, I elaborated.

“Do you have a Dell computer?”

“I have lots of computers,” she replied.

“Good for you,” I replied. “Dell names their computers, like the Latitude.  They named this one “Axim.”

Thankfully, she understood that.  “What does it do? Is it like an old PDA?”

Getting a little annoyed now by her incessant questions, I gave her my practiced spiel about being a book collector, and using the Axim to help me choose the books to buy.

“You know, my phone can do that, too,” she said a little too boastfully as she held up her smartphone.

“Yes, I know.  My phone can, too.”

“I can even use the camera on the phone to scan the books in case I want to sell them,” she bragged, again seeming confident that shared a great secret with me.

“There you go,” I said, turning away from her, and I started looking at the books again.

At that point, I think she realized that she would get no more conversation, so she pinballed on down the row, thankfully away from me.

Of course, this wasn’t the first time that I had an encounter with a handicapped person.  At a different FOL sale, a crowd, including me, was milling around the membership table, trying hurriedly to purchase admission.  As I stood there, jockeying for position, a woman loudly announced, “you had better NOT step on my foot.”

Looking around, I noticed a woman on crutches, foot in a cast, standing next to me. Apparently, this woman wanted to buy admission like the rest of us, and had willingly put herself in the restless crowd despite her disability.  While I admired her pluck, I suddenly had no sympathy for her plight, given her tone and the loudness thereof.

“Move your foot, then,” I said as I stepped up to the table.

Obviously, I didn’t make a friend that day.

Have a productive week.

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