Thursday, October 8, 2009

(Good) Will

Or perhaps more aptly titled, The One in Which I Tangle with a Senior Citizen in Goodwill over a Copy of Twilight…and Lose.

I never intended for any of this to happen.

I was in Goodwill, busily buying them out of cloth napkins (my newest eco-resolution centers around ditching paper products, see), when I hear an elderly man call out to his wife, who happens to be about half a dozen salad spinners and iced tea pitchers to my left. “Dear,” he asks, “are you still reading that Twilight series?”

Well naturally, my entire body stiffens and my head snaps up in alert. So does hers, which is--wow--funny. Am I someday going to be this woman, enthusiastic about teen pop lit when I’m in my seventies? God, I hope so.

She quickly assures her husband that yes, she is most definitely still gobbling up anything smoking-hot vampire related as the mood strikes, and he informs her--us--that a paperback copy of Twilight is only .99 cents in the book section.

Now you may remember that I have never had my greedy little hands on an actual copy of Twilight, as I had listened to the entire series on my iPod instead. Why I can't just let this book series go, I don't know. I'm oddly fascinated, like one is fascinated by a car wreck; I simply have to slow down and stare. At any rate, this is how I justify wanting to read the book before the second movie comes out (oh, just shut up), but since I refuse to pay full price and make Stephenie Meyer any richer than she already is (yes, I‘m shallow and spiteful), I am currently 23rd in line in the library hold system (behind approximately 20 fourteen-year-olds and two other pathetic 30-something moms like me, no doubt).

So I look at my senior fellow Twilight aficionado and she looks at me, and since I’ve never been known for my poker face, you guessed it: it’s on.

Now I’m certain that I’m faster, but she’s closer, and it would seem she knows her way around a Goodwill; I waste precious seconds scanning the room for the book section. Once I do get my bearings, I can see she’s already well underway, walking at a brisk, businesslike pace toward the book racks. She’s faster than I’d given her credit for, given that her arm is in an ace bandage and her husband is sitting in a mechanical shopping cart.

Plus, she has the presence of mind to take a shortcut through sporting goods.

Sensible shoes, too. Dammit.

I waste another few seconds deciding whether to abandon my cart and purse (amateur!) and then I’m off, ducking between winter coats and nearly plowing over a toddler. Still, I don’t run four miles a day for nothing, so I break through the Halloween costumes to reach the book section several steps ahead of her.

I feel very good about myself.

And worse yet, I can’t find the damn book. It’s not that I don’t know what I’m looking for: I’m scanning the display for one thing and one thing only: white hands holding a red apple.

White hands…red apple. White hands…red apple. White hands…

And then just-like-that, it’s over. My new friend is standing across from me, casually tucking a worn paperback under her arm. The worn paperback. What‘s more, I’m certain that her smug smile is not just in my imagination. As she turns to rejoin her husband (buzzing along in her wake), I immediately see my downfall. The original cover’s been redone with a glossy image of Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart from the first movie…a contingency I should have anticipated.

Freaking hell.

I trudge away in defeat, buy my napkins, and leave in shame.

I head to the library next, since Calvin’s copy of Diary of a Wimpy Kid is in stock, and while I’m going through the self check-out I do a Twilight search just to see if I’ve moved up to #22, and to my amazement, I see that one, single, lone, solitary copy of New Moon (second in the Twilight series) has just re-entered circulation. It’s not included in the hold system, because it’s the large print edition, usually set aside for…wait for it…the library’s elderly patrons.

And I ask myself: what are the odds that more than one particular elderly patron might be wanting to read New Moon in, oh, approximately two weeks‘ time?

Not high. And so my finger hovers over the Enter key for only a second while I hesitate before…click.

Mine now.

Suck on that, Goodwill lady.
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