In my first week, I sat in a café each morning with a stack of books and my “Buy Bob’s Books!” sign. In one café, where I know few people, I sold one book. The buyer was a law professor whose own self-published book I had previously bought from him. Four people, two of whom were probably schizophrenic, stared at my sign without speaking, though one silently mouthed, “Wow.”
In my other café, where I know many copies, I have sold several copies, all to people whose first name, at least, I know. This café is in a boutique hotel and one morning a guest, an Asian-American woman, asked if I was “a Berkeley tradition.” “No,” I said, “I’m the first one I know of.”
Later, I realized, I had forgotten Julia Vinograd, a poet, who for years has roamed the streets, dressed in a long black coat and multi-colored cap, while blowing soap bubbles and peddling her chapbooks. I have the long black coat and the multi-colored cap already.
Or I could remain sedentary. Worst comes to worst, I figure, I can deduct the cost of my double espressos, like rent.