Last week I met Susannah at the Coop to pick up a book I had placed on hold before we traipsed off to Cambridge 1, our usual Red Sox, beer, and gourmet pizza haunt. After waiting in line at the register for an attendant to fetch the book, a practice they’ve since changed years ago, the clerk sent us to the information counter in the center of the store on the ground level. We walked over to the the empty kiosk and contemplated the high-profile books. Susannah pointed out her printed acknowledgment in Dean Harry Lewis’s book. Suddenly, we were inundated by service.
I explained to the younger of the two men that I had a book on hold, and as I was slightly embarrassed to mention its title, I volunteered my last name instead.
“Just a minute,” he said, “I have to get it from the back.”
To pass the time, Susannah listed some more books she had recently read or was currently reading. She’s been on a blog-to-book kick. The idea of it all makes me tremendously jealous in that petty, why-didn’t-I-do-that sort of way. But before too long, the clerk had returned, to my surprise, with not one but two books.
“I’ve got one called Google PageRank and Beyond and the Laws of Love,” he stated in a somewhat self-satisfied way. “I wasn’t sure which one was yours,” he added.
“I just want the Google book,” I answered.
“Are you sure you don’t want to know about the laws of love?” he asked. He italicized the laws of love with his voice.
“No, I just want the math book,” I pleaded.
No sooner had he handed me the book, then we had made it back to the rope and stanchion guarding the check-out. Being on my dinner break, I wasted no time at the register, even refusing a bag to speed things up. Then it hit me:
“Wait a second,” I started without turning to Susannah, “do you think he was hitting on me—did that really happen?”
She pointed out the obvious missed opportunity and suggested I order another book. It didn’t work. And the Sox lost that night.