Working at a bookstore only exacerbates my already out-of-control OCD complex of organizing and straightening things. And it's even worse when I'm in the Kid's Department. As soon as I turn my back on a perfectly straight and ordered book display, the next thing I know a tornado of toddlers has torn through the center aisle, leaving book stacks askew, the display in ruins. It's those evil children. And their negligent parents. Oh, the parents! They really get my blood boiling. They come into Kid's, laden down with the latest in celebrity gossip and fashion. As they thumb through the pages of the magazines that will inevitably be left in a messy pile on the floor that I will then have to pick up and put away, they allow their little hellions to pull every single book off the shelf, spread them all across the floor, smudge the pictures with their sticky fingers, rip open shrink-wrapped puzzles and games, bend and break bindings... and basically wreak all kinds of havoc in my previously well-organized department. Seriously, one of these days I'm going to have a brain aneurysm. My head will just explode from the mounting pressure of holding in everything I want to scream at these neglectful parents and their ill-behaved children.
But just as I am reaching my breaking point of literal insanity, a 6-year old little girl in a pink-flowered dress with long messy blonde hair and big blue eyes looks up at me over the counter with curious eyes, and quietly asks, "What are you doing? Why do you have all those books there? Can I see that butterfly one?"
And then my heart melts. The scattered shelves and destroyed displays don't matter anymore. The pesky parents and their mounds of magazines are forgotten. I gently hand over the butterfly book to the wide-eyed child in front of me. And I remember what it was like to be so young and to discover the magic of the written word. And I smile.
And then, somewhere in the distance, I hear a clock ticking.
So I turn away from the little girl in the pink-flowered dress with long messy blonde hair and big blue eyes holding the butterfly book in her small hands... and go find a display to straighten.