So it’s 9:45 p.m. the night before I am supposed to leave for the Sacramento Antiquarian Book Fair, and, despite my best intentions and efforts, I am still not packed for the fair. Three boxes of books and ephemera (out of about 12 planned) are packed. September is a busier-than-usual month, and trying to cram in a book fair makes it downright crazy at times, like today. Tom and Huck are back to school (8th grade and 5th grade this year) and with the start of the new routine comes loads and loads of parent meetings. In the past two weeks, I have been to two back-to-school nights, one high school information night, one parent meeting for baseball, one parent meeting for Cub Scouts, and one parent meeting for Boy Scouts. We also had a party for Huck’s birthday. I also bought a big lot of books from a local estate, something which required research and now lots of cataloguing. While I am happy with the boys’ school and their activities, a book fair is a welcome respite from parent meeting and school schedule overload. I finally started to pack books for the fair late this afternoon, after I had picked up the boys from school. Suddenly, the phone rang. It was my neighbor.
“I was outside and I noticed your van (the Bookmobile). The right rear tire looks really low on air, so I thought I’d let you know.”
I thanked him and hung up the phone, trying not to grumble about the inconvenience of having a flat tire at 5:00 p.m. Where could I possibly get it fixed this time of day?
Did I mention that I have already had the horrific experience of having a flat tire on the morning I am supposed to leave for a book fair? It’s downright frustrating. One of the benefits of selling books at a book fair is arriving at the fair as early as possible for set-up. This allows lots of time for scouting good books other sellers are offering for sale. If I get a late start and miss that, I miss a big part of the reason I do this fair — buying books as well as selling them. And there are always good buying opportunities at the Sacramento Antiquarian Book Fair.
I went outside to look at the tire and sure enough there was a small nail in the tire, though it wasn’t entirely flat, just sort of halfway deflated. I drove the car (carefully) to the only tire shop I know of, and, miracle of miracles, they were open even though it was after 5:00 p.m. The man at the tire store looked at the tire and said, “I think it can be repaired with a simple patch.” I would not need to buy a new tire. One hour and $20 later, my car was in good working order. I filled it up with gas and drove home, ready to go. Now, dinner eaten and boys in the care of Thoughtful Husband so I can concentrate, I am finally getting down to work, packing boxes, printing out last minute descriptions, and listening to music from the 1980s. I am tired, but now I am thoroughly enjoying myself.
Today was not quite the day I would have liked to have had. But I didn’t wake up to a flat tire on the morning of my departure and I shouldn’t get a blow-out on the highway while driving to Sacramento. For alert neighbors and tire shops that stay open past 5:00 o’clock, I am thankful. I’ll be up late tonight, finishing up packing books, but I’ll be ready to go first thing in the morning. I find it comforting to look at pictures of pretty books or books with pretty characteristics when I am under stress, as I was earlier this evening. I thought you might enjoy these photos of a set of books, all with marbled edges and marbled endpapers. Oh, and all with another San Francisco bookseller’s ticket as well.
I’ll give you a full report of the fair when I return. See you at the fair!