Saturday, August 22, 2009

Return to Normalcy

Warren G. Harding (who is, to the best of my knowledge, the only President to date who has sported a middle name of Gamaliel) ran for office in 1920 on the "return to normalcy" ticket. The war-weary country swept him into office, along with a Republican majority in the Congress. While I am not a particular fan of Warren Harding, I can understand the attraction of his promise for the country at the time. I've bounced around from upheaval to upheaval over the past few years, and I'm just about ready to sew up the borders.

Like most aspects of being in business for myself, the bookstore's denouement has been both more time-consuming and more costly than I anticipated. When I decided to close the doors, I didn't really stop to consider that I could be left with, literally, thousands of books on the shelves. I was too proud to discount the new books any more than 50%, reasoning that I could send them back, and refusing to give the vultures who were circling, waiting for the 90%-off fire sale, the satisfaction. And this is, on a theoretical level, true. I CAN send the books back for credit from my distributor. The question is, when exactly do I plan on doing that? Since I started my new job, I've begun a 40 minute daily commute, dove headlong into a demanding new position, and tried to deal with 9-5 type bookstore issues before 8 or after 6. This weekend, I'm in Norfolk for drill. It reminds me a lot of my shipboard days, during which I grew to resent such normal, mundane tasks as laundry and toenail maintenance. I've got a buyer for the shelves who wants to come pick them up Thursday night, but no buyer for the books. And as much as I would love to recover the money I've hemorraghed over the past 18 months, I'm going to draw the line at dragging several thousand books into our basement.

I called this week to set up a haircut appointment with a woman who used to cut my hair at the Navy Exchange when I was stationed in Norfolk on active duty. She was a lively little Filipino woman who bantered constantly and almost always cut my hair too short. Still, I knew what to expect, and I liked having a regular "stylist." She had left the Navy Exchange just before I left active duty to establish a salon with her sister in a little shopping center in Virginia Beach. When I called, her sister said she didn't work there and hadn't for several months. She wouldn't tell me where the woman had gone, but I already knew where to find her. I got my hair cut by her this evening at the Norfolk Navy Exchange. She'd gone back to her normal, and I understood it perfectly.

No comments: