Maybe this is why I haven't managed to become an adult.
Right now I am reading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, which is my favorite of the Harry Potter books, and I have just remembered how I came to read this particular Harry Potter book for the first time.
I was still in high school, and while I loved books (especially Harry Potter) more than anything, we had only dial-up internet at home and one very slow computer shared between four people. My brother used it mostly for computer games and hovered over my shoulder every time I tried to use it for anything other than schoolwork, so I never used the computer unless I had a paper to write, which wasn't often. Even if publishers posted release dates of books online, or book blogs existed then, I would still never have known about it, because my brother wanted to play Starcraft matches all day long. What all that boils down to is this: I didn't know the release date for the third Harry Potter book.
Back then, I would prowl bookstores. I had the names of all my favorite authors memorized--with correct spellings (when you work in a library, you will realize how rare this is). I would walk in the front door, and go through shelves checking for each series and author I loved. If there were none of those to be found, I searched for new authors to love. There was a system. It was a good system. I never, NEVER, missed a book from any of my favorite authors, and I kept up to date with every series I read. But, as there was no bookstore in my area (and there still isn't), I spent a great deal of time staring at the same five books at Walmart, on the single shelving unit that housed coloring books, Bibles (hundreds of them), romances, and a smattering of bestsellers.
And one day, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
It was the only copy.
It had not been there the day before.
Did I mention, it was the only copy? I'm still pretty sure it was actually shining on the shelf, as it was so far superior to the cheap trade paperbacks around it. I think it was the only hardcover book in the entire store.
I seized it. It was mine. I would not let it go.
But there was a problem. I never got an allowance as a kid, I didn't drive, I didn't have a job...so my money came from birthday or Christmas presents, if that. Still, my parents never said no to a book, so I never missed having cash on hand. Until that second at Walmart when I held Harry Potter and thought, "Does Walmart need a dishwasher?"
I clutched Harry Potter, hoping my mother wouldn't turn down a BOOK. Not to mention a HARRY POTTER book. And a new one at that.
But Mom had not counted on a new book, and had left her checkbook at home. (Yes, these were the days before everyone had a debit card. It feels like ages ago, but no. Not really. It was 1999.)
Mom understood, because she gets this sort of thing, that the book could not be put down. Clearly, if it were reshelved or even cleverly hidden in a different spot, someone would find it, buy it, and my life would be over. So quickly, we hatched a plan.
I would hold the book. I would wait.
Mom would drive home for money. And then she would drive back. Thirty minutes both ways. My mom loves me.
That gave me an hour to keep Harry Potter safe. And read. I went over to the clothing section, huddled in a corner, and read the first hundred pages of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban right there. I discovered my favorite Hogwarts teacher while perched on the corner of a shelf filled with sweatshirts in every color of the rainbow. Mom came back, we bought the book, and I read aloud to her the whole way home. I still have that same copy; it's the one I'm reading again now.
Gosh, I love Harry Potter. And isn't my mom awesome?*
Meanwhile, check out the new Luna Lovegood shirt I bought. It's a design by Megan Lara, who contributes all the time to TeeFury and an all-around amazing artist. Here it is on Redbubble. Megan has tons of other Harry Potter and Doctor Who designs that I want, but I NEEDED the Luna shirt. It was necessary for survival.
And yes, I took the picture of myself in the mirror. Check out my awesome smart phone. Isn't it amazing?
* Mom says this story is much more flattering than the one about her not knowing whether a vacuum cleaner sucks or blows. Although apparently, it does neither. And Joel, if you're reading this, my mum says you're her favorite person for telling us about how air gets pushed into a vacuum cleaner. It made her feel much better.