Saturday, September 04, 2004


I'm back in this favorite bookstore of mine. A nice place to hang out on a sunny Saturday while my car is being repaired in the garage next door. In this period of high political atmosphere, I'd like to find a book explaining the details of American politics. Something like the advanced version of what, I hope, children are asked to learn in school: the history, the way the government works, the congress, the house, the judiciary. You got the picture. So I ask the woman behind the desk and she seems extremely surprised by the request. I try to explain but all I can mutter is something like "well, like, an advanced book to study for American citizenship". I'm not sure why I mentioned this as I'm not taking the test for another two years. She gets me a book called "American citizenship for dummies" which is, well, what the title says it is. After a brief look, I know it won't do. I already know the big lines. I need a serious book explaining the details of the working of the government. She comes back with another "light" American politics book and a sort of illustrated history of the US. I start feeling a bit annoyed by her selection, so I tells her. "Well, let's start with the basics. Do you have the American Constitution?". She nodes, clearly happy to know that she can fulfill my demand. She walks down one aisle, looks around and comes back empty handed. I hear her question loud and clear to another staff member of the bookstore. "What happened to the American constitution?" I'm laughing. I don't think she heard her own question. She comes back with a small, tiny book. A first step.


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