Saturday, June 1, 2013

Found Objects

I went to the university library to find and check out Life of Pi by Yann Martel.  I found the book in the correct location.  Tucked inside of it was a folded up piece of paper.

I am ashamed to admit I almost didn't check out the book because of this piece of paper.  It's hard to explain, but my train of thought went something like this:  Someone left this paper in here because they didn't finish this book.  They didn't want this book.  Only ridiculous people leave pieces of paper in books; I'm going to look silly checking this book out of the university library.  Everyone else has already read this book.

Somehow, that one folded up piece of paper that no one had bothered to remove (and it's actually about 3 sheets of paper folded into fourths, so it was rather thick and obvious from the outside of the book) was judging me.  I said it was ridiculous, but sometimes that's how my brain works.

And then I said, "Fuck it.  I want to read this book.  Let's see what goodie this person left behind."

At some point I want to create a book of the marginalia I've found in various textbooks and library books.  I love writing back (in pencil, of course) to people who've left notes before me and then returning the book, carrying on some strange conversation with someone I'll never see.  This piece of paper is like that.

I finally unfolded it.  This person bought a one-way bus ticket from Des Moines to here.  I wonder how soon after arriving she returned this book?  Did she even finish reading it?  If she was using the paper as a bookmark, the answer is no.

I know it's a "she" because the pieces of paper have her name, address, telephone number, and confirmation number of the bus ticket.  It even lists the times and stops the Greyhound bus makes.  Out of respect for this careless individual, I'm not posting any of that here (she also wrote "password" and then a phrase as well *tsk tsk*).  Plus, it takes some of the mystery out of it.

She arrived on March 16; the ticket was purchased on the 15th.  Was it a last minute trip?  Or just someone forgetting until last minute to purchase their ticket?  If I was really creepy, I could look up her name (and/or address) on Google or or something.
But I'm not.

Am I?


  1. I love when I find things like that in books! I was in a thrift store looking at books recently, and I picked up The Book of Mormon because I was like "Ha! Right here is the actual Book of Mormon! " and I opened it up and there, stuck between its pages, was a photograph of a young woman standing out in the desert. She obviously wasn't alone -- someone had taken the picture. I had to buy it. And it was only 50 cents!

    1. That's awesome! And a "heckuva deal!" as my step-dad would say.