today at the “bookstore”

A woman walks in with her hair in a bun, eyes lined with black kohl, and golden bangles on her left wrist. She is positively Bohemian. She asks for black Sharpie markers. When I point out the ones we have to her, she insists that these are not what she is looking for. “I am an artist,” she asserts. And then more sternly: “I always use these Sharpie markers. I got them here maybe two or three months ago. Can you please order them? Because I need them. For my art.”

Lady, the world does not move for you. Somewhere out there, Rembrandt is an artist living in a time of Sharpie markers, and he fails to find one at his neighbourhood bookstore. Heavens! What can the poor man do? Nothing! Because Sharpies Maketh Artists! And poor Rembrandt is Rembrandt no more!

Then again, there is something alluring about such unabashed self-importance. I inform my colleague from the stationery department about said Sharpie markers, and the customer’s suggestion that we bring them in because she needs them. My colleague merely nods.