Sally does not like the way I sort books. She takes pains to tell me this three times a year when we both volunteer to set up a fundraising book sale. Junior High School politics are long past for me, so I swallow the urge to bray, "You are not the boss of me!" I smile and go on my merry way, sorting books in a manner that apparently annoys her. A lot.
I have been volunteering for this organization a very long time, long before Sally ever bought her little book sale bar code scanner and went into the book collecting/selling business. Before that, a handful of volunteers gabbed and sorted, recommending books for each others' children and grandchildren and whiling away a few hours. After sorting and arranging, I purchase books for myself, the boys, Hart's house and the Dawes School PTO used book sale. But it's all become very cutthroat now. Sally means business.
At the last sale, I had Hart along with me. He announced that he wanted the final two Harry Potter books. Sally is affirmatively NOT in the market for anything Harry Potter-related. Sally is a Christian fundamentalist home-schooler (and a Muggle). She is looking for science books that show co-existing dinosaurs and humans. (I am not making this up.) So it was a mild surprise that the two Harry Potter books I'd set aside by my purse were gone not three minutes later. "I didn't know they were yours," Sally said. Right.
I suspect that Sally hopes I will just leave the volunteer cadre. Of course, now this will never happen. Are we competitors for the same books? Maybe, but book collecting is really just a hobby for me and I have no interest in My First Bible or anything related to creationism and Sally is happy to leave the books on Jewish holidays and crafts to me.
Everyone else I have told this story to has a differing theory. Jewish people shake their heads and say, "That is just mean and petty." But non-Jews have a different read. "Does she know you are Jewish?" Of course. "There's your answer," a friend told me gravely. A devout Christian friend laughed heartily. "You know she believes you have no purpose to exist." This makes me feel vaguely icky, but sad. I can't win her over. I haven't done anything to deliberately antagonize her.
So today, when I found an entire carton of books I know Sally collects, I bought the whole box. When the inevitable directive about my book sorting came, I took my ear buds out and said, "No. I don't want to do it that way." I still felt icky and petty, but at least with the music on, I could not hear her response.