Friday, July 07, 2006

The Bottom Shelf Phobia

Books: delight of my life, bane of my existence. I’ve spent the past week sorting my books, organizing them into subject groupings, and trying to get them to fit logically on my new shelves. I promised myself I’d weed through my books as I emptied the boxes, and I have. I must have set aside at least…oh, half a dozen volumes to give away.

I lost so many books in the flood you’d think I’d be having an easy time of it. Except that I’ve also bought a lot of books in the past ten months. And I find I can’t seem to bring myself to put anything on the bottom shelves. I look at those shelves and remember the books that used to go there, books I’ll never be able to replace. That’s part of it. But I suspect there’s another part of it, a subconscious belief that anything I put on those shelves will be in danger. I know it’s silly; next time—if there is a next time—we could get enough water to submerge my entire library. Nothing in this house is really safe. And yet the bottom shelves still stand there, empty.