A gift is found one of two ways. The first is found through careful thought. The other is found by chance in a damn-how-could-I-completely-forget-that-I-needed-to-get-a-gift panic. The horrid feeling of trying to find something that will not be seen as an after thought since it is not an after thought. It is a later thought.
So I am wandering through Krammerbooks & Afterwords Cafe at Dupont Circle in search of a later thought gift. It was for Father’s Day. I already had a card and everything. I just didn’t plan for my knitting project to not be done in time. A planned gift that became a later thought one. I was irritated with myself. I needed to find something good, quickly. I had a plane to catch.
Krammerbooks never lets me down. It may not always have what I want, but the place can be depended on to have what I need. I scanned the shelves with laser precision. It was only a matter of time ‘till I found it. I came across a biography on Thomas Jefferson. I paused a moment. The title was familiar to me. A coworker had been reading it earlier in the year. That’s when I knew; this was it. My coworker had excellent taste in nonfiction, and who doesn’t love a good-old-fashioned American President?
I went as quickly as I could to one of the checkout lines. It was a little more difficult than it should have been. I was lugging a carry-on over my shoulder and I didn’t want to take down any of the numerous stacks of books.
As I stood in line, I hummed to myself thrilled with my find. I looked down fondly at the cover thinking sweet nothings about Thomas Jefferson, repeating the singular thought. I have found a gift. I have found a gift. It’s going to be awesome!
–A fan of Thomas Jefferson?
The comment startled me. I was so absorbed in my happiness I wasn’t paying attention.
–Enough of one, yes.
The man was tall and had a politicians head of hair. You know, the nice kind; the kind that could belong to a Romney or a Kennedy. He had dark eyes and his suit was Mad Men blue. His tie was loose and he was holding book two from A Song of Fire and Ice (aka Game of Thrones).
–It’s a good book. Well written. Not a love letter or anything. It’s just an interesting presentation of facts.
I looked down at the book, I had absolutely no intention of reading.
–Ah, Thank you. I was looking for a book that met that standard.
His smile was inviting in a way that made me think I was in an Orbit gum commercial. You know, his teeth sparkled for a moment. I am not ashamed to admit, he was charming.
–Your book is pretty good too. Decent for Fantasy, trending away from standard plot themes. You just have to be okay with death, and that the series is unfinished.
–I’ll be sure to tell my wife that.
–Yes. Please do.
I turned away. Well, there was really no more point in continuing the conversation. There really wasn’t a need for him to flash his smile the way he did, was it for the thrill of the hunt? I didn’t care to know.
We both had had our standard normal grocery line small talk and it was my turn at the register. I placed the book down grinning with pride at the man behind the counter. I had found my gift, and I was going to go to the good old state of Connecticut and I would see my family and it would be amazing.
I started thumbing through my wallet for my card to make the payment, when I heard the question.
–Would you like to get dinner sometime?
I am not sure exactly what type of look I had on my face, but the cashier’s eyes bulged as he ducked behind the counter, fumbling for a bag that I did not want for my purchase.
I looked over my shoulder unable to accept that this had been asked.
–So, I am not going out with you to dinner.
–Because I am not Mormon!
His jaw dropped. The cashier was chuckling at my comment. He held out the bag in a perfect display for a quick exit. I grabbed the handle and fled on my way back to Connecticut. As I pushed the door open to leave I looked back.
The cashier was shrugging off his chuckle to the man with the devilish smile. I heard him say as the door closed behind me,
–What? It was a good line. Did you find everything you were looking for today?