You know you’re a book collector…

You know you’re a book collector

When you can’t go past that shop

It’s in the way your body stops.

You turn to your friends

(if you’re single, you’re already in it)

And say “Do you mind? – If we just?”

The reply, if we’re honest, doesn’t matter

Because you’re already inside

And you’ve never felt so alive

In that moment where you enter

(the first few steps, it’s true)

You savour the entire atmosphere

And know it’s just for you

The children in that corner pinpoint where you need to go

And you sidle along the shelves, not too quick and not too slow

You don’t want to appear eager

But there’s a balance you must achieve

Between looking normal, looking sane

And, in the pursuit of your ultimate goal, making sure you don’t inflict pain

On the unwary customers who don’t move

(There’s always quite a few and they never get out of the way)

You’re here on business, no time to mess about

No floral Maeve Binchy or a shiny Zane Grey

You’ve seen it there, the dustjacket’s calling

You step over a child that’s bawling

(It’s not your child, it’s all okay)

And that book that’s been waiting for you all its life, is now yours

Your money slides out of your wallet

(You’re usually quite thrifty)

And before you know it you’ve paid, and you’re back outside

With your purchase that’s oh so pretty

Your friends they turn back to you

With expressions from awe to shock

You shrug, “What?”

One points, stunned, at their watch.

You smile, suddenly smug, “I’m a professional”

“And it takes me five minutes – tops.”

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