|We all have problems at times.|
The telephone wasn’t working at the bookstore on Wednesday. I told Bruce I’d bring in a new phone on Thursday, thinking the old one had simply died. David didn’t think I needed to buy a new one, as we have lots of old ones and cords and parts around the house– . But no, who wants to hear the whole boring story? When the repairman came late Friday afternoon he actually diagnosed two different, unrelated problems (the two jacks were not even on one line, as it turned out), but the happy conclusion was a working line and phone by closing time on Friday, and I was happy and grateful. That’s the bottom line: three days of inconvenience and aggravation and a happy ending. I did say to someone, “Now, on to the next crisis!” but I was kidding! I wasn’t anticipating another crisis, and certainly not the one that reared its head 24 hours later.
Late Saturday afternoon the publisher of the book Ice Caves of Leelanau, the book I’m hosting a signing for this coming Sunday, came to Northport with bad news: the printer is behind schedule, and I won’t have as many books as I’d been promised for Sunday. I’ll have the remainder the following week, and I’ll be able to get them signed, but before this news hit I’d already taken reservations for 61 books for Sunday, and now I’m only going to have 40! Oh, no! This is terrible! I don’t believe it!
Well, there’s nothing to be done. If I can only have 40 on Sunday, I’ll only have 40. The customer who wanted a copy as soon as possible for her son’s birthday will get one this week; another customer who wants multiple copies for Christmas presents will probably be willing to wait. Or so I hope it will go. I’ve been scanning my reservations list and sending e-mails to the people whose e-mail addresses I have, as well as hoping in my secret heart for some miracle that will make the second carton of books available to me on time, after all. Wouldn’t that be a nice surprise? Don’t count on it, though. I’m not.
But maybe it’s already a miracle that nothing like this has never happened before. I’ve certainly worried about books not arriving in time but never had to face such a problem except in my imagination. I was upset on Saturday, too, I’ll admit. But I can’t produce a second carton of books out of a top hat -- and when I thought about it all a bit longer I realized that this really is what my two younger sisters call a “First World problem.” The situation is not life-threatening. Doom is hanging over no one’s head.
I hope people don’t cancel orders, because I placed my own order on the basis of advance book reservations, and I hope no one gets seriously upset, but my expectation is that most if not all of my customer-friends will respond with understanding and patience. After all, they are book people, and we are all small town and country neighbors.
Wouldn’t life be blissful if all our crises were as small as telephone troubles and late-arriving books?
If anyone tried to call the bookstore last week on Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday, I’m sorry you might not have realized we were open. (Town was hoppin’ on Saturday.) And please do come meet Ken Scott this coming Sunday, whether or not you have reserved and/or prepaid for one or more of the Ice Caves books.
And really, it's glorious weather at last, isn't it?
At last the good weather has come to hang laundry outside and to forage for fresh salad greens and colors in woods and field. Life is good. Problems can be solved. At least, in our fortunate Up North world there are few glitches we can't handle, with a little help from our friends.