There's this event called Novello, a reading festival sponsored by the library here in Charlotte. It's a good event though they don't bring in too many authors I read. They brought Kurt Vonnegut to town a few years ago and if they never bring in another author I love they have done fine by me with that event. The Novello website will show you what's going on this year.
Yesterday was Wordplay Saturday. Basically they close off a couple of streets downtown and have many booths set up that feature activities for kids, have children's authors in to meet folks and autograph and, for the first time, had a booksale. I volunteered to work the book sale. It was on the street outside the library. I helped set up the night before so I went in at noon yesterday to help out and assist in tearing it down when it ended at 4. I was in the way for the first hour but two people left at 1 and I had more to do. It's fun watching people at one of the library book sale's. Hardbacks go for 50 cents and paperbacks are 25 cents. Like all good sales there is a slight sense of desperation to the shopping. There are quality books out there and the prices are so good people just do not want to be passive and miss out on a great deal. They trashed it. We expected that and didn't really venture into the feeding frenzy to straighten up very often. It was very similar to being in the middle of an NFL pash rush.
We had a lot of stuff to move so about 2:30 we started selling brown grocery bags for one American dollar. The deal was, buy a bag, fill it full of books and get out of the way. It was great fun. When you told people they could fill a bag for a buck their eyes would get as big as saucers. The most common response was, "really?" What I had thought was a feeding frenzy before was merely wildebeasts grazing compared to the action with the bags. Ever seen children pick of money dropped on a baseball field from a helicopter? Same thing. They cleared out the children's section in about 30 minutes. I have to hand it to my bosslady, Susan, she could sell empty bags to a grocery store. She was handing out bags like they like they were burning her hands. Word spread around the festival like wildfire and people were coming up to us asking for bags. We made a lot of dough and really cut down on the amount of books we had to take back inside the library after the festival ended. Since the large pile of books was ulitmately my responsibility, being in charge of the main library's book sale, I blessed every book that left the area in a brown paper bag.
The Friday Before
After setting up on Friday I weasled a ride home from a former co-worker and classmate. As she and I were walking back to her car parked in a parking deck called Seventh Street Station we had to manouver our way through club goers and the street people that feed off them. I tried to explain to the little skinny loud guy with the polaroid camera that we weren't revelers but he moved on to other potential victims too quickly for a full sentance from me once he intuited our disinterest in his services. Kathy and I marveled at the revelling club goers and were humbled by our complete foriegnness to what was swirling around us. I felt like we were invisible to the beautiful people and their large breasts packed into stretchy material and their beaus wearing expensive t-shirts. Where do you buy t-shirts of such apparent quality? We were also shocked into realizing that we used to participate as enthusiastically in this heavily perfumed booty chase. I'll take a small smoky bar with a guitar band any day over that shit. Club drugs are for losers. Remember, only clubheads use club drugs.