New glasses, old books

New glasses are strange. I always worry if they’re crooked or not, since the lackeys at the optical store adjust the frames like I adjust an aluminum can before I chuck it in the trash. I mean recycling bin – if recycling is such a big hit around here, why isn’t aluminum any cheaper? Why don’t they reprogram some of those GM welding robots to pull cans and paper out of garbage so we don’t have to separate things? Instead of throwing all that stuff in landfills, they should get some joint venture going between the scrap dealers and the landfills. When the trucks show up, they dump everything in a waiting area. Then the salvagers can pick through it for free, and send the rest down the line.

I always wanted to open a salvage shop, one of the kinds that goes through buildings before they are destroyed, and takes the sinks and toilets and rare tile and whatnot, and then resells them. It’d cost some money up front, but you could make a killing. A character in a book did that, but I forget what book. They went after the big stuff, like boilers and furnaces, and sold them at el cheapo rates to scummy apartment buildings. I wish I could remember the name of that book…

There are a few books that haunt me, the details show up in my everyday life without warning. Deja vu is worst when you feel like something in a story or a movie instead of your own life. The Five Gates of Hell by Rupert Thomson is a book with plenty of scenery that reappears in my life periodically. And anytime I’m on the ocean, I still see the setting for this book I read as a kid, maybe 20 years ago, called The Haunted Cove. When I was on the Oregon coast, I thought I was IN that book. Even though I hadn’t touched it in decades, I could see the little cottages, sand-swept roads, and breaks in the water along the shoreline. I dug my copy of the book, a book club hardcover now faded by a quarter century in my mom’s basement, and it turns out it was written by a woman, Elizabeth Baldwin Hazelton, who lived on the Oregon coast also. Pretty freaky stuff.

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