Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Early Bird Feels Like A Heel

I've written and studied poetry. Some more vaguely than others, I remember names like Blake, Wordsworth and Pope. Some of the required readings were easier than others. Some of it I understood and some of it, I never did.

I do appreciate poetry, although I confess I'm more likely to opt for Robert Frost, or even the nonsense of Edward Lear over Bronte, Whitman or Purdy.

I had never head of Al Purdy before Monday. The winner of two Governor General's Awards and the author of over thirty books, many consider him Canada's greatest poet! The only Canadian poet I studied in school was Irving Layton.

All the poems Purdy considered his best have been put into a 1996 book called "Rooms for Rent in the Outer Planets".

Tristan needed it for school.

Susan began a rather thorough hunt, checking bookstores far and wide; from Montreal, to cities wherein relatives inhabit, including Toronto and Calgary!

After searching the outer planets, she found the one and only copy here, in a store downtown and thus, the unenviable and surely nerve-wracking task of acquiring the lone, designated publication fell unto me.

Late yesterday afternoon, I went to the downtown bookstore and asked whether they had Purdy's book. They told me the last copy was being held for a customer. Then, the clerk told me to wait where I was. Obediently and unmoving, I stood.

She returned a few minutes later to inform me the book was on a three-day hold and yesterday was the third day. She explained "Rooms for Rent in Outer Planets" would likely be returned to store shelves Tuesday morning.

I ventured to ask whether, if I returned just before closing last night, they might sell it to me. She pondered the possibility and then suggested it would depend on the cashier. Some of the more starch-stuffed, she stated, although she didn't use the phrase starch-stuffed, might insist the book be returned to shelves Tuesday morning; others would not be quite so fussy.

Hence, at five minutes before closing last night, I found myself slumped sincerely over the bookstore counter explaining the situation to the cashier, who promptly pulled out the reserve copy to confirm the third day was, indeed, about to expire.

Being blissfully fuss-free, he agreed to sell it to me.

I sort of feel bad for the person who had set it aside, but the delinquent person did have three days to buy the thing! Now I wonder, is the early bird supposed to feel like a heel when it gets the worm?

Nah, I don't think so.

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