Eloquent as hell, I know. Jesus, and I’m a writer. Anyway…
The Bahamas was wonderful. More on that later; I’ve been somewhat overwhelmed since my return, I’ll get to the Scooter Escapade and other stuff in another blog entry. For now, I’m fascinated by something else (as I say to Shelly and Ken, “Oh, look… a kitty!).
Since season had died down at the AAF, I decided another means of supplemental income was in order (cruising money), so I applied at a for-now-to-remain-nameless Chain Bookstore opening in downtown St. Pete (God’s Waiting Room no more). We open Tuesday. Now, in college I worked for the Mouse, and I guess my expectations of national corporations was somewhat jaded by that, so I expected to deal with tons of protocols, training videos, SOPs, and the like.
The phrase “the right hand doesn’t know what the left is doing” is a gross understatement in this case. Don’t get me wrong, I love it. My manager has no clue how many staff she has, and when I ask her a question about how to do something, the look she gives me defies written description. I would have to ask one of my actor friends to replicate it, because words alone do her expression no justice. Suffice to say, it’s a humorous clusterfuck of sorts. I say humorous because, after all, we’re selling books, not launching the space shuttle (which I’m pretty sure we couldn’t do anyway, so it’s a Good Thing).
Don’t get me wrong; I love that there isn’t some dumbed-down, over-thought-out, leave-you-mindless plan. It reinforces my belief in the Human Condition that there exists somewhere in the world a wildly successful corporation that seems content to fly without a net. I think it’s quite Noble, in fact. But it’s amazing how much, at -4 days and counting, is answered with “eh, we’ll work it out”.
Anyway… prior to opening, the majority of my job consists of unpacking boxes and boxes and boxes and boxes and boxes of books. Yesterday I unpacked and shelved the Art section as well as the Architecture and Design books. I think I had a little orgasm when I got to the National Geographic photography books, but that’s not important now. Today, though, the last few hours of my day entailed shelving Education (not so bad, although not my interest) and then… Parenting and Childcare (or something like that). Nothing, and I mean NOTHING undermines my faith in humanity as much as the sheer volume of books that exist that deal with giving birth to and training a small human.
I mean, think about it… I entered this world almost 238 years ago (that’s dog years, by the way), and my mother (sorry in advance, mom) managed to carry me to term without a book that told her:
1. Not to get rip-roaring drunk while she was pregnant (I believe she had a full complement of relatives who took up her slack),
2. Eat sensibly, and eat enough for two (a fine tradition I have carried on despite my joyful lack of a fetus), and
3. At the appropriate time, listen to her body, get herself to a doctor, and let her uterus push (eject?) me out into the world.
Furthermore, she did NOT need a book to tell her what to do so that I respected her and my father (as I entered my 30s, apparently this kind of fell down, but, hey, she had a good 30 years), studied in school (I didn’t realize not learning was even a option, and I’m not at all happy about that, especially in regards to geometry and algebra), and paid enough attention to the world around me to successfully grow up and become a (somewhat) contributing member of society (some things even a book wouldn’t have helped, I guess). The poor woman; if only she had realized that a BOOK could have just told her what to do and she wouldn’t have had to use her brain to teach me how to use mine…
I think you get my point. So I’m unpacking books today, and I see several that make me shiver. At one point, I tried to get a sweet little college boy (my GOD, I’m getting old!) to trade sections with me, but his mother apparently had read all the right books and nothing would convince him to trade places with me (well, OK, I didn’t try quite everything, but I suspect even a place this disorganized has some sort of sexual harassment policy). I almost quit, though, when I unpacked this title along with several variations thereof:
The Baby Whisperer.
I shit you not.
I weep for the future.