Alan was an older man, around 70 years of age. He walked ok, but he did need a stick to steady himself with.
For more than forty years, Alan used to own and run a second-hand bookshop, but for various reasons, he had had to close his bricks and mortar store, and he was forced, more or less to sell his books from home instead, online.
Alan wasn’t too happy about that. He liked the interactions with the customers. He also liked the autonomy of having his own business. He reported to nobody, except, perhaps the customers, who sometimes used to lord it over him a bit, one way or another.
This was because Alan, was a demure, soft-spoken, nerdish character, with his horn-rimmed glasses, and hunched back, he never looked like that he could fight his way out of even a wet paper bag, as the old expression goes.
Alan wasn’t too happy about this characterisation of himself, but what could he do, it seemed that he lacked the inner fortitude to ever be able to change the way that he was.
Anyway, Alan got a bit bored working from home.
For one thing, it was hard to catalog his books for sale, as his wife was always dusting his shelves, and invariably, she would shift one from one shelf to another, not even thinking what this was doing to Alan’s filing of his books. He had them filed by shelf, with a reference number allocated to each shelf on the several bookshelves that he had in his study, in his house.
When a book was not, where it was meant to be, it often meant that he lost that sale, because he just could not find it, and he would often give up the search in annoyance at this fact.
Alan also needed to get out of the house to go for a walk sometimes, to break the monotony too.
Last week then, Alan went for a walk. It was a cloudy day, so that was good. He would not overly sweat from his exercising.
He wore his sunglasses though, as his eye-doctor had warned him to do this. He had the beginnings of some cataracts forming, and she had told him that if he wore sunglasses when he went outside, this might stave off the inevitable, at least for a while.
Alan walked up to a local opportunity shop, belonging to a local church. It was a good 20 minutes walk there, and perhaps a 25-minute walk back again. Alan was always a bit more tired on the return trip.
Alan went inside, and he looked at the several shelves of books there for sale.
He noticed that the children’s books were marked on sale at only 50 cents each.
Alan noticed an old collector’s item, dated 1962, a hardback reference book on Victorian seashells, of all things. It had $2 on it.
Alan saw another book that was unpriced. It was a Michael Connelly detective novel, which was always a good seller for him too. And his wife loved to read these crime stories too, so buying this book, would serve him a double purpose. His wife could read it, then he could sell it.
Alan priced his total buy at $5.50 in his own head, 5 kid’s books, at fifty cents each. The $2 book, and the other one, he knew these novels, all usually sold at $1 each.
Alan went to the counter, and a large intimidating woman came out from a hidden back storeroom. The counter was vacant before.
She looked at Alan threateningly, accusingly. He was a regular, but she always treated him like this, perhaps she had worked out that he wasn’t buying all of these books for himself, but to try to onsell them online.
She fingered through the piled books, and she said to Alan gruffly, “That’s $7, this time.”
Alan said nothing. He wasn’t game too.
Maybe the fire-breathing dragon would accuse him of removing the price tag on the Michael Connelly novel, a novel thing for him to do, and which, really, he would never do.
Anyway, Alan thought to himself, as he walked back home again.
“Well, it’s for a good cause, a charity. I am helping them, so what’s it matter, if that dragon-lady overcharged me.”
Alan sat down on his favourite bench chair in a small park, on the way home.
Another justification then came into his mind. It was that he was only getting some good much-needed exercise too, so the books were really, just a secondary consideration for him here.
Just, the same Alan thought to himself that he had really been a wimp again, again. Intimidated into submission by that fire-breathing dragon of a woman, working in that shop.
Now Alan could have said,
“Well, I made that only $5.50,”
but then, he weighed it all up, at the time too, and really, he made the right decision for himself, because each such decision is made from many factors, all of which Alan instantly assessed, and so his decision was right for him at the time, even if he didn’t know it, because all decisions like this are always right for us, as they are made from who we are at that time, and they will not change or be different, until we change or be different.
That’s just the way things are, and work, in life.
The photos used here were freely sourced from the free media site: pixabay.com