Voltaire and Rousseau - Day 5
In retrospect, this last entry will be messy and strange and weird, but I guess that can’t be helped. I have to vomit the words on the page, and it’s not my fault where they land.
It’s funny. After one week of working in Voltaire and Rousseau, stacking books and cleaning the wounded paperbacks from the floor, it no longer seems messy.
You probably think I’m crazy, but it’s true. The books are all in their proper places - two from the bottom of the stack on the right side of the war section or three from the top in the shelf where the ladder rests. I can close my eyes and take a virtual tour around the shop, and I know where everything is. I recognise the books that shine on my eyelids, and I know exactly where to step so the books don’t come tumbling down. I know where everything is.
Which is why, on the last day of my work experience, my awe vanished.
When I first arrived in the shop, everything was new. The titles were strange and interesting - The Romance of Lace, A Dictionary of Scottish Painters, 365 Reasons to be Cheerful etc. Everywhere you looked there was something new. There was another book, another fact, another story hidden in the mountains of paper and leather.
But now? Well, the magic’s gone. I know where everything is. I’ve catalogued the first layer of the shop (that being the stuff you can actually see) and there’s nothing left for me to notice. The next time I go it’ll be different, and I’ll be amazed again. I know I will.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m going to miss the shop and the people that work there. I’ll miss the students, the regulars and the cat. I’ll miss the pigeons outside and the pesky squirrels that scurry around the shop, trying to nibble on some Chaucher or Defoe. I’ll miss the lane and I’ll miss the smell. But I won’t miss the travelling or the mild boredom that settled over me that last day.
I loved working at the shop. Not because it taught me anything valuable about work, or because I learned facts I never would have known, but because I met interesting people, customers and workers.
I wish I could elaborate, but I can’t.