Thursday, November 03, 2011

A Tower of Books

Czech post offices have come a long way in the twelve years we've lived here. You don't need to use your elbows to keep your place in line any more - order tickets and clearly marked windows preserve politeness, as do the friendly twenty-somethings who speak Czenglish behind the counter. I might miss the quirkiness of getting to talk to someone named Pani Bezchlebova or Pani Bezvodova*, but I don't miss their personalities.

So when I took my package slip to the post office the other day I was surprised when the Hillfiger-clad clerk frowned at the slip instead of flashing his usual smile, and even more surprised when he disappeared from his window and didn't come back. Resigned to a long wait, I'd read halfway through my passport's "notable quotes" by the time he returned.

"Go west young man!"** I read as he slid back in front of his computer. But he only looked at me and shook his head, saying he was afraid the tower would be too much for me to grab home. I switched to Czech and promised that whatever tower he had to offer, I was willing to grab it without fail. Shaking his head again in a way that made me remember Mrs. Without-bread fondly, he piled twelve boxes on the counter, stamped my mail slip and let me go.

I staggered home happily. Who could resist an armful of books? One of my friends recently traded SEO advice for a big book order from the bookdepository, and Christmas had just arrived!

They're hidden away for the next few months, except the top two - early presents to myself for the SEO work, and for carrying them all home without dropping a one.

* Loosely translated as "Mrs. Without-bread" and "Mrs. Without-water," these two ladies worked side by side at the post office near our first flat in Prague.
** Horace Greeley, U.S. Passport


Barrett Bonden said...

Ah, Julia the London bus. You wait for ages and then three arrive as if umbilically linked. Thank you for the headline, otherwise I might (briefly) have thought I was seeing a pile of thick-sliced bread ready for the toaster. And some day I must get a glimpse of your passport, there must be more in it than in mine.

Of course you are right to celebrate the arrival of a mass order of books. It is one of those events that fancifully draws men and women together - a simulation of giving birth. I just hope that none of the titles is Photoshop V. nty-X, I hope they are all time-wasters.

Julia said...

Hi BB! I decided that I needed to kick start my blogging again by jumping on the bandwagon and posting every (week) day in November.

All the books are time wasters and fun. They are mostly for Caroline and Will, which is why I didn't show their titles. I've already started the two for me. After reading many many books on a Kindle this year a page turner is a treat.

Anonymous said...

Book depository is amazing! Lucky you for such a deal... and from what I can see of the covers, great choices!

Eleanor said...

Have just realised YOU'RE BACK. But, wait a that James???? Starting school? The cuteness is mind-blowing. And Caroline in the role of experienced big sister really warms my heart.

Having just renewed Miss CB's US passport we were amazed to see that there really is so much reading material inside!

E x

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

What a stack! What joy!

Lucy said...

I was going to commend your patience in waiting to open them, but I see you haven't altogether!

I just love the Mrs Without Bread and Waters, they sound like something out of a satirical novel.

Lovely to have you here again with such frequency, hooray for November!

Julia said...

Anne - Mariana is a delight, have you read it before?

Eleanor - the quotes are quite entertaining, and when we are really bored we try to guess the locations on each page.

GG - absolutely :-)

Lucy - I really wish I had photographed their name plates. Finding them working together seemed too gloriously improbable to be real, but there they were!

Ellen said...

Any new Flavias in the tower?

Julia said...

Not yet but the new Flavia is on my wish list ;-).

lizardek said...

I want to know what books you got! What fun! that is TOTALLY the best kind of happy package dance day!

Ann RC said...

I remember picking up boxes at Christmas time, probably that same post office, and wondering what people do who don't have strollers to carry all of their packages home in!