Tuesday, June 6, 2023

The Case of the Missing Case

It’s almost impossible to buy a bookcase here in Our Little Town.

We’re well into summer now and I should be working on any number of projects, some of which I actually am working on but that is another story. The larger issue is that I have reached the point in my life where I can avoid any task I wish to avoid while still remaining productive simply by shifting focus to another project that also needs to be done. There is a wonderful term for this that I found online a while back – “procrastiworking” – that I feel needs to be more widely known.

So I’ve been procrastiworking, mostly by trying to organize and weed the final few bookshelves in my office, the ones that line the northern wall and keep me toasty warm and insulated during the long Wisconsin winters.

This has been on my list of projects since before the pandemic. My office is lined with books on all four walls, and I got the history and miscellaneous topics sorted out several years ago. There are about a dozen boxes of books in my basement that need to go to a good home and will at some point, not that you can really tell in my office. All I had left to do was the fiction section, which is divided more or less into “science fiction and fantasy” and “other fiction,” and which has been gradually disappearing behind stacks of other similarly categorized books.

I figured I’d weed out the ones I didn’t want to keep anymore, incorporate the ones I had acquired over the last few years, and set things up in approximately the same space. Simple! Perhaps a bit heavier than you’d think, but not terribly complicated even so.

More fool I.

For one thing, there weren’t that many I wanted to weed out. Most of the books that I didn’t want to keep I didn’t keep to begin with, so while there’s maybe a box or so that needs to go that isn’t nearly enough to compensate for the books that have come in since the last time I did this. I like books, and when I have spare money to throw at retail therapy that’s mostly what I spend it on. My mother was the same way, and after she died I ended up with a whole pile more books despite being fairly selective about what I took.

This is why the space that had previously been holding all of my fiction now holds “science fiction and fantasy” from A to T.

There are a lot of books on the outside of that range looking in.

No problem, I figured. I live in a late-capitalist hellscape where my every desire – no matter how ill-advised, environmentally damaging, or ethically dubious – can be satisfied simply by throwing money at it! Surely someone in this town will sell me a bookcase!

Maybe there aren’t enough people here who read? I don’t know. Maybe they do read but don’t keep anything they read? Perhaps. Exclusively a Kindle town? Quite possibly. But no matter how you slice it, unless I want an heirloom quality hardwood piece of furniture handmade by burly men with beards and hats and sturdy enough that it would take three circus roustabouts and a large dog to move it into my house, my options here turn out to be somewhat limited.

So I remain surrounded by piles of books with no home, with no alternative but to get back to one of the many other projects that this was supposed to distract me from.

This is not how this was supposed to go.


Ewan said...

Surely, though, heirloom quality bookcases are a good thing...

David said...

They are, but they are also heavy and expensive things, either of which is more than I care to deal with at the moment. All I really want is something relatively sturdy that will hold my books up. This is why yesterday Kim and I went on a scavenger hunt at the nearest IKEA and found something that was a) reasonably sized, b) made of real wood and not particle board, c) stained to match the living room reasonably well, and d) affordable. We also made a generous contribution to the IKEA Random Items fund, but that's just part of the cost of going there. Mmmmmmmmm, lingonberry jam....