One day at the bookshop
I am doing my bookseller routine
when a man walks in
he might be sixty
but you can't really tell
haggard face
not a slightest bit of aggression
yet firmly present

The moment he walks in
everything changes
suddenly, each book is in a slightly different place
lights acquire a strange quality
women invisibly glance over their books
in one word: magic

He is looking for a certain title
I am sorry, we don't have it
but we can order it for you at no extra charge
my usual small indie bookseller schtick
he says OK
I ask for his name and email

for a brief moment I feel like a Beatles fan
that suddenly run into John on the street

So,
how to say something
and not end up looking like a complete idiot

. .

The truth is
I have this green book
I made it myself
in the nineteen ninety-eight
when I decided to leave forever
the world of curators, gallerists, grants, residencies
older folks with money and taste
cerebral introductions and long essays
the world of unspeakable talents and values
endless mingling at opening parties
too many coffees and wines

I made the secret green book
when we decided to open our first bookshop
I knew about Cleaning the House
and I thought it might be a good idea
to do a similar kind of inventory
a very personal thing
something like a time capsule

One page in this book
is an old xerox
black and white still from Rest Energy
you know those prints from the eighties
an old granulated bitmap
now already pleasantly faded
it's there
and it is important

. .

Of course
I say something totally stupid
but he is very kind, accepting and forgiving
he courtly engages in a small talk with me
and soon aims toward the exit

At the doorstep he suddenly stops and exclaims:
"This is beautiful!"
pointing to the wooden door handle

There was this old knob
it used to be covered with a thin decorative metal plate
the decorative part fell off
and now the knob was bare
one could see two small round holes
filled with semitransparent silicone kit

One part of me is sad
that I never took a picture of that knob
I mean, later, never

On the other hand
I came to realize
it is even better
this way

 

 

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