My dear people,
We have a problem. Ok. I have a problem. (Yes, well, many problems. Calm down and listen.) It is that I suffer under the delusion that all books are mine, should be mine, are free for all to read, should be treasured and kept in good hands. Especially, best beloved, my hands. (This is like with pianos. Here is a random picture of shrimp and grits that I was given for free!)
In most cases, while others go cheerfully about their lives, unconscious of my cherished delusions, I go cheerfully about my life, availing myself of the books and the pianos that cross my path with wild and wanton abandon. This is wonderful and excellent in many ways.
The reason we are having this conversation is because here, in Damascus, VA, which I am sure one could write about at great and eloquent length, singing praises of their food and their hospitality, and the twee-ness of their beautiful hiking town, nestled in the verdant forests of the southern Appalachians… The erstwhile library ladies refused me a book. There I was, innocent and wee. There they were. Welcoming. Omniscient, and presenting a pleasantly benign aspect, as so many library ladies do. Then there was this book. It called to me. I found it. Hello, book, says my soul. I have found you and now you shall be mine for a brief and perfunctory time.
Unfortunately for us all, the library was closing, and when I went to plead my case, the library ladies said, Go away. You don’t even go here*. I said, “But… please?” No, they said. Sorry. Go away. Sorry. …But, Library Ladies, I would leave you with everything I own, in surety for this book. Truly I will treasure it tonight, and then I will bring it back. No. Sorry. But I was going to hike away tomorrow, and must read this first! Goodbye. Sorry.
So I went away, Best Beloved. I. Went. Away. Without the book. My book. That is actually the library’s. Of the city of Damascus, Virginia, which is overly possessive of its books. This, Best Beloved, is my problem; that other people sometimes do not recognize my delusions about books (and pianos), and then prove regrettably immune to my desperate wiles, and then I have neither books nor pianos to comfort me, and must go away with great sorrow and with my nose out of joint, due to above delusions.
Alas. Such is life. In other news, I am staying in this hostel by myself tonight, and I was thinking of walking a half mile or so over to the other hostel with the cookies I was baking, for I know two people are there… But then I burnt the cookies, because this oven is all broken except for the “Broil” setting, and I was so busy telling you about the failings of book-possessive Damascus that I forgot to open the oven and let out some more hot air *cough*. I guess I will just have to eat them myself, with ice cream, while sitting on the couch and watching Top Gun for the first time. Such is life.
Um… Will also probably stay in Damascus until this book is read. So… See you in Marion, VA, in 6 days?
*Some liberties may have been taken with their phrasing here.