This reminds me of a funny story I’m going to call “V-Cart Wars.”
Because there are lots of types of bookcarts — in the Bookstore, we have at least five: giant ten-shelved carts on wheels which are heavy and want to tip, big eight-shelved carts which are also heavy and want to tip, large three shelved carts where the shelves only open on one side, and little hand carts on two wheels, which are either a “V” or a “W” cart depending on their capacity (a “W” cart is essentially a double “V” cart).
A few months ago, we were rushing around to get the Bookstore in tip-top shape for a visit by the company’s top bookseller: the CEO. What this meant was that one night, instead of leaving after the last customers were shooed out at closing, everyone was frantically running around reshelving everything from the recovery cart, as well as any piles of magazines and books the customers left scattered around the store. For some reason, the people who tend to leave our stuff all over? Usually never seem to buy anything. Fuckers.
We had a woman (New Girl) who’d just started that day (college student looking for extra income over summer) and even though the closing manager had told her she could clock out and leave if she wanted, she decided to stay and help us shelve. About an hour after we’d closed, we were finally finished and were heading into the back room to grab our stuff, clock out, and hit the road. I was rolling a v-cart, and so was New Girl. I rammed my v-cart into hers and joked, “V-cart wars!”
“You want to play this game?” she said, a weird smile on her face.
And I was pretty sure this was the first time she’d ever worked in a bookstore (because she’d said, “OMG! I’m so excited to work in a bookstore!”), so I was kind of confused how she could know about v-cart wars, which is only in a very fragile sense a “game” because it has no real rules or objective other than to, y’know, ram a cart into another cart*. So I pointed to the cart and said, “This is a v-cart!” in a “wtf are you talking about?” kind of tone.
And the encounter just ended sort of awkwardly.
I related this story to Urban Bohemian a week or two later at Mackey’s, and the bar tender overheard and explained that “v-card wars” is something high school girls do, and that the “v” stands for “virginity.” Sadly, Googling turned up no information (although, I both feel skeevy now for Googling it, and I felt skeevy at the bar when I realized what this much younger woman thought I was inquiring about**). I guess the whole point of the story is that New Girl would probably love to participate in the Librarian Book Cart Championships.
Five teams of librarians — dressed in costumes ranging from Vikings to Elvis Presley — competed for the coveted gold book cart. They marched in drill-team formation, equipped with metal book carts.
Gretchen Roltgen, a 62-year-old librarian with neon blue hair, says it’s a long way from Baraboo, Wis., to “the big dance.”
“Our carts at home don’t do wheelies as well as the models we use here. These are full-competition models,” she says. “Absolutely, they’re built for this type of rigorous competition.”
In many ways, I feel that being a bookseller is just a step away from a librarian. Except, those poor bastards and bastardistas have to learn the Dewey Decimal System. Suckers. Oh, and also? When we want to let our hair down at the Bookstore (proverbially — I’m bald), we just go over to Mackey’s and throw back some brewskis. Librarians, apparently, dress up as vikings and do crazy stuff with book carts!
*There’s a variation: “Book cart murder.” This is when you build up acceleration and release a book cart which has been stacked high with magazines or books. This makes the cart very heavy, and difficult to stop. The objective is to see if your coworker/victim is spry enough to leap out of the way, or if he will be crushed to death.
**And then as I was writing this I thought, “Wait, this could’ve ended with me having the sex with her back in a remote section of the store!” and now I feel skeevy again.