Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Letters From Travels: Book Exchange Drama

Still in Granada, Nicaragua. It's not as super sweet as San Juan del Sur was. I'm staying in a place that is super gringoed out. It's killing me, although free internet is nice for once.

They have a pretty cool book exchange here that I was pretty excited about. I traded one book in the other day, and it went fine. And then I tried again and apparently violated the sacred book exchange laws, and went through hell to get a sub optimal (at best) book.

I tried to trade a modern book called Cheese Monkeys for the Brothers Karamazov but it got rejected (all the trades have to approved by the owners). So I tried with a couple of other books. No dice. Finally I saw one of the owners, the wife of the couple, talking to a couple of irrate would-have-been customers. Trying to be tactful I waited politely, and then asked her if I could steal a minute of her time even though she seemed like she might be stressed by other things.

"I'm not stressed" she interrupted me. Oh goody, we're arguing already. So I asked her why my trades were being shot down, and she explained to me that I was picking out "classics" and in or to get a classic I had to give her one. Which seemed dumb enough for me then but I decided to go ahead and take it with a grain of salt. So I picked out 4 or 5 more which the book nazi shot down immediately.

Apparently a LOT of books are classics. Finally I got a book that a fellow traveler had recommended. The woman had never heard of it so she of course did what was right and told me that I couldn't take it. Now what was wrong?

Apparently this book was much longer than my book, proving that to some people´s literary standards, longer makes better. At this point I almost choked her.

"Well, a couple days ago I traded you guys a book that was longer than this one, so can I get that book back and THEN trade you for this one?" I asked.

"No, because that trade is done and gone," the she-devil replied.

"So essentially I'm working my way down to a piece of paper." I think it's worth mentioning that while this whole thing took place I never once punched her.

I was really offended that if I had wanted to trade my book, which was pretty good, for say, the Scarlet Letter (i.e. the worst book ever written), I would have been turned down. That's just wrong.

Then after all that I tried to check my email and I had to wait for a computer to free up and I sat and sat and sat and I watched people log into 19 different e-mail accounts and then minimize and then open the browser window like it was the most amazing thing ever and I definitely think that Granada's charm has worn off. Now there's an Alaskan who cannot control the volume of his voice telling a stupid "I was so drunk" story and laughing at himself. HAHAHAHAHAAAAAAA it was SO funny, man I was SO drunk, and dude, I should have told her whats what, but she was SO into me.


El Pocket Lint

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