Straighten Up, Straighten Out, or Just Straighten

Recently I made a trip to Salt Lake City. A rather long trip, actually. Long as in excess of 400 prairie miles (644 kilometers).

Used Book Sale, 2013-08-03 I caught myself off guard and took my picture.

Used Book Sale, 2013-08-03
I caught myself off guard and took my picture.

Anyway, while there I attended an outdoor used book sale. They, of course, saw me coming and so formulated a strategy to use against me and ensure I’d part with at least a little of my hard-earned money.

In short, I was manipulated and the plot was so sly as to boggle my mind.

First, they contrived to raise the outside temperature to near 100℉ (38℃). The other half of their weather conspiracy was to erect awnings that encouraged customers to seek shade and linger among the books. Clever. Very clever.

Once I was trapped sheltered from the sun they played music. Not just any music, of course, but music so ancient that it could only have come from my high school days. Given that many of the books on the tables were printed at approximately the same time it was an experience similar to time travel. Okay, it was time travel. Nearly I had the urge to verify my algebra homework was done.

Probably something I should have checked more often when I was actually taking algebra.

Ah, but they weren’t finished with me yet. Unbeknownst to me they’d scanned my brain before my arrival and determined exactly how to keep me even longer.

They made certain the books weren’t neatly arranged.

I’m a chronic straightener, especially when it comes to books. Well, as a much younger person I feared stores where they sold vinyl records (and later, CDs). I’d finger through the records and before long I’d be turning them right side up, making them face front, and sorting those in incorrect locations.

It’s no wonder the employees in those stores smiled upon my arrival even if I didn’t spend money. Yup, that was an easy night for them! “Sure, boss, I made sure I straightened ALL the records…slaved over them until my back hurt.”

Downloading music has saved me so much time over recent years. (That is, until I started creating playlists that have become their own form of straightening. I’m doomed.)

So, yes, I had similar urges at the book sale. Those books with their bindings facing up were turned first one way and then another and then another. Ah…! Sheer agony. Too, the stacked books weren’t aligned or, worse, were stacked so poorly they were toppling over, their little page-like cries begging me to stack them anew. Crisis!

I’ve no idea why there weren’t police officers there to cart away those browsers who failed to replace books correctly. I stared into the face of anarchy and it was horrible.

By the time I left, bag in hand, I’d decided the drive wasn’t as difficult as I’d first thought.

A part of me longs to straighten still.

Am I alone in this? Does anyone else have this problem? I must battle such desires at the grocery store, too. Don’t even get me started on cans that don’t have their labels facing out…

4 Replies to “Straighten Up, Straighten Out, or Just Straighten”

  1. Yay! That’s my neck of the woods. Glad you came away with some books even after they tried to ensnare you! I’ve never been a chronic straightener of other people’s things myself but with my stuff yes.

    • And a lovely city it was. The mountains were beautiful. I think my straightening is tied to some organizational/alignment compulsion and I resist it well enough when I’m hands off, but when I become engaged with items I then want to align and organize. Thus, there must be many related items together. That explains why other people’s home clutter doesn’t drive me crazy because it often consists of miscellaneous and unrelated items. Thanks for the comment, Jodi.

  2. Almost my neck of the woods, too! I’m there just about once a week. And it has been horribly, horribly hot this summer.

    I love used book sales. I used to get caught in library fundraising sales, when the local North Dakota libraries sold books they were trying to get rid of and books that folks in the community donated. It drove my daughters crazy, but I still think of those times as lots of fun. And very messy. SOMEONE has to straighten things. 🙂

    • I must have just missed you! lol Yes, the heat was stifling, but I’m always thankful there isn’t much humidity in the western US. Even so, when I departed east up the canyon it was amazing how quickly the air cooled. By the time I reached Evanston, Wyoming the weather was entirely different.

      There were little in the way of big name authors offered, but there were interesting offerings just the same. The big windfall for me was coming upon numerous anthologies containing short stories. I’d like to dabble in the medium and reading is a good way to learn.

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