Sold two books.
The first, a “Most Outrageous,” went to a math professor who had just returned from a conference in Poland. I realized I had lived 70 years without knowing a single math professor. Now I knew four. What does this say about the direction in which my life is headed?
The second was a “Cheesesteak” to a young Vietnamese-American fellow who was working in his family landscape design business while waiting to see what path his life would take. (He has recently broken an addiction to video games and begun visiting the Zen Center.) We discussed meditation and was I Jewish and how you found what you wanted to do.
“Why did you recommend ‘Cheesesteak to him?’” someone asked me.
“Well,” I said, “he wasn’t interested in basketball and he was too young for major illnesses and he didn’t seem to care about social service programs, which was all else I had on the table to pick from; and everyone has had an adolescence.”
In other news…
1.) The café, as you may know, is on the ground floor of a boutique hotel, and one of the other regulars, a Latin American history PhD turned legislative assistant (ret’d) wondered what Trip Advisor had to say about it. This was from Dec. 21: “The best part is the café, a real hot spot for old men in deep discussion of semi-neo-democratic society and hawking their latest books and an ex-professor who pulled out his computer and showed my wife a slide show on the loss of great buildings in Paris.” Now the creator of the slide show never attended college, and no one hawks books but me; all we “old men” did feel like, since we had become a recognized tourist attraction, the damn café ought to spot us a free cappuccino now and then. After all Joe Gould was comp’ed in Greenwich Village bars after Joe Mitchell profiled him in “The New Yorker.”
2.) I was at the point of my spiel where I hand the prospective customer (30-something soil engineer, with back pack and quilted jacket, down from Sacramento) my card when Monroe entered and handed her his card and brokered his own chain of conversation. (Monroe’s card has his name on one side and a diamond exchange’s on the other, the relationship between whom I have never understood since all the time I’ve known him he’s resided in subsidized housing on SSA.) It turned out he and she had attended both Humboldt State, albeit forty years apart, and the discussion quickly focused on lumber companies they have known.
“You stepped on my sale,” I said, after she had left.
“I saw them first,” Monroe said, which was technically since she had to pass his outside table with his shopping bags and shopping carter to enter.
Sold two books.