I was running a bit late, feeling the need to handle Fuss' morning diaper change with a certain level of finesse lest the household once more descend into the Mouth of Madness- a standard clothing change yesterday triggered WWIII and left Fuss so spent he passed out on the bed moments after being wrestled him into his outfit by two grown adults, a process which took 30 minutes.
I like to arrive at these things 30 minutes early, not so much to assure myself 'first look' as to allow time to hang out in line and chat with the regulars and acclimate to the book sale environment. Every sale is its own event, there's no reliable area to ransack for 'the good stuff' so up to a point it doesn't matter when you get at the books. In the modern era of the barcode Borg with their Amazon-scanning smartphones most sales are picked clean within 30 minutes, but as long as you get through the door in the first 10 minutes or so you'll find plenty of great books. I get roughly the same quality and quantity of book whether I go through the door, first, tenth or, as today, 60th.
This morning the old pros and the readers were both happy and chatty in line, talking about books in general and specific, while the Borg were sullenly isolated, earpieces in, mostly fiddling around with their phones.
At the last Morro Bay sale I scored a pile of great model train books hidden in the 'transportation' section, this time my key find was a big stack of Osprey books on the military history table. They're rarely great, but always good. This particular batch will pay for the entire sale plus a modest profit.
Last sale I had mixed luck with the new age/metaphysics table, so I passed it up until about 20 minutes in. One of the quasi-Borg (people who check books on their phones, but don't have the scanner attachments for whatever reason- seems pointless, but there are a couple at every sale.) was sniffing around it, a guy who occasionally brings us new agey type stuff that he can't sell online. He was pawing and pecking at the table ineffectually when I swept across like a storm front demolishing the section, like a hurricane that carries off the barn and garage leaving the cows and cars nakedly exposed.
My 'most valuable' book of the sale came from a row he'd already gone through.
These are the moments that hearten me in when I gaze out across an auditorium full of scanner locusts mechanically bleeping and blooping their way through the tables, barcode by barcode.