Saturday, January 28, 2012


The scene: An English-language bookshop, somewhere in Prague.

The players:
The bookshop salesperson, earnestly pretty
A well-spoken customer, elegantly dressed

A new customer enters. She appears to be constructed entirely from wool.

Salesperson: Hello, can I help you?
Woolly customer: No, no thanks. Just looking.

Removes enormous fuzzy hat and begins to unwind two layers of scarves. A nose emerges.

Salesperson: Ok, just let me know if you need some help.
Woolly customer: Yes, thanks.

Leans casually against a bookcase in an effort to push her right arm towards her coat buttons. Attempts to look nonchalant.

Well-spoken customer: So anyhow, I was saying to P. that next time I came we simply had to review this. It's quite extraordinary, and so very moving.
Salesperson: Yes, of course.
Well-spoken customer: But of course, I really should have come on Friday not on the Saturday, so I'm very sorry about that.
Salesperson: Really, it's no trouble at all.
Well-spoken customer: Well thank you, dear. And heavens isn't it cold? We've had eleven metres in Bucharest, if you can believe it, and it's been minus 16.

Meanwhile, the woolly customer catches sight of her hair in the glass and discovers that the removal of her hat has back-combed random sections of hair into three poorly-executed fuzzy quiffs.

Tries to smooth hair down. Removes gloves. Tries to smooth hair down again. Realizes she has a choice between looking mad because of mad hair, or looking mad because of her attempts to de-madden her mad hair. Decides to remove all her outer layers and leave her hat on.

Pauses in satisfaction at clever resolution of seeming insoluble dilemma.

Salesperson: It's been very cold in Slovakia too. Minus twenty or twenty-one I think.
Well-spoken customer: Heavens, that's terrible. It's supposed to be moving here too.
Salesperson: Yes, it's already getting quite cold.
Well-spoken customer: And later, moving towards England.
Salesperson: Next month I hear.

Woolly-hatted customer worries that the wearing of a solo outdoor hat indoors might appear vaguely trendy and hipster-esque. Wonders if the armload of woolens is sufficient to counter this impression. Remembers that anyhow she is now closer to the mad cat lady age anyhow. Wonders if she should get a cat.

Well-spoken customer: Anyhow, dear, I really must be off now. Thank you again very much for your help.
Salesperson: It's not trouble at all, thank you. Here are your things.
Well-spoken customer: Goodbye dear.
Salesperson: Goodbye.

Well-spoken customer leaves in a blast of cold air. Woolly-hatted customer wanders over to the cookbooks and thinks about stew. Somewhere, an espresso machine grinds on.