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Anxiety at Book Trader Cafe

Jeremy Hoffman

Jeremy Hoffman

If you’ve ever been to Book Trader, you’ve probably noticed the tip jar. It’s a cute exercise that likely results in more gratuity. Sure, it’s great when the choices are innocuous–for example, would you rather converse with animals or know every language? Becoming Dr. Doolittle for that moment of decision was riveting. It was harmless. The options brought me to an unattainable place where all was possible.

But today I had a minor anxiety attack after receiving my 84 cents of change. Book Trader laid a heavy one on me: “Which do you prefer? Bike or Car.”

My heart said car. I love driving. I love listening to the radio with the windows down. And I’m lazy. I don’t want my journey to be exercise. But I was nervous. I feared judgment at this independent bookstore/café. Cars are bad for the environment. Bikes aren’t.

I wanted to tip. But I couldn’t lie to myself. I don’t prefer ‘Bike’ and I wasn’t letting my money reflect that. I felt imaginary stares burning holes in my body. So I did the cowardly thing and scurried away without tipping.

I’ll tip double tomorrow.