Sunday, August 27, 2017

The Quixotic Bookseller

I have been having problems with my ipad, specifically that it is not charging well.  It could be plugged in overnight, and yet have added nary a charge by the morning.  I have played with different cords and different charger plugs, but it is acting up.  As such, that means that my access to my vast Kindle library has been sporadic.  A Kindle is an incredible, amazing tool for access to vast libraries of pages...but paper never needs power.

Not having access to my reading material had left me a little bored.  For me, boredom is always an existential issue.

Yesterday, I noticed a street book merchant just outside the gates of the kasbah.  He had bootlegged copies and photocopied editions for sale along the wrought-iron rails and on the concrete edge.  I perused his offerings but had not found quite what I was looking for.

Today, I saw him setup again, and gave his collections another look.  As I had hypothesized, he had others on display today.

I have a funny way of choosing paperback books, and it revolves around a quixotic combination size--if it is big enough to fit in my small satchel or back pocket, and heft.

I first found an old copy of Ernest Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea

Everything about him was old except his eyes and they were the same color as the sea and were cheerful and undefeated.


A wonderful book, which I read nearly a decade ago on an adventure to Jamaica.

The other, a book by Paulo Coehlo called The Fifth Mountain about the Prophet Elijah, my namesake and patron saint of all Wandering Jews.

Stop thinking about life and choose to live it.

As a rule, I don't generally bargain much with booksellers.  I might try to knock a few dirham or rupees off the price but I don't negotiate hard because I always want to support the purveyors of pages.

He told me that the Hemingway book was 20 dirham (2 bucks) and the Coehlo was 15 dirham (a buck fifty), or maybe it was the other way.  I pushed lightly for both books for an even 30 dirham.

Then, I saaw his t-shirt.  He was wearing a Don Quixote t-shirt, of Picasso design.  As a rule, I don't bargain over anything Quixote.  Quixotic gets its own price, out of respect.

I pointed to his shirt, and told him he could have the 35 dirhams he asked for.

I explained with a quixotic grin that on principle I don't negotiate with Quixotes.

He laughed and we talked of the famous knight-errant's tale, which he had read last year.

I happily took both books and stuffed them in my satchel.  My library troubles should be over for a spell.  I left him with a handshake and a smile as I wandered off into the afternoon sun.

2 comments:

DrBones said...

For Quixote, you should have paid 40

Paul Rockower said...

I debated paying him 36