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Sitting in front of a large number of books piled on two tables, Angie looked at the young people walking on campus and wondered if she will ever manage to sell them any books.

Yesterday evening when she was about to leave her office, she was feeling so scared and so worried about next day’s big event that she simply wanted to bury herself somewhere or stay in bed feeling bad for herself, or skip coming to work or plainly forget to show up for the book sale event. Weird ungrounded ideas kept crossing her mind: she would imagine herself spending 4 hours in the shade with no one passing by to buy a book or  a journal, or she would imagine herself running out of books, or that the quantity of books would run out and that she would be unable to get extra copies. She would see herself unable to speak or smile or say anything except staring vaguely at some unknown unnoticed detail. She would imagine on the other hand people coming and buying and asking questions, that she wouldn’t know what to turn to or whom to answer. She would imagine running out of money and having to ask customers to get the exact change. This last idea would make her shake to her bones. The whole thing seemed so complicated that she had to stop on her way home and to look around for answers.  Her gaze fell on the shady spot she had chosen for the book event and other ideas popped up: “What if the sun hits the books? What if the place isn’t as shady as I think it is ? What if the books won’t fit on the tables? What if… What if…”

The voices in her head were arguing loudly. She felt that she was loosing control. She was about to burst into tears. One of the voices kept repeating: “it is going to be alright”. The other one kept asking questions, arguing, thinking and overthinking, complicating things and over-complicating them, and worrying…

Walking slowly towards the shady spot, she noticed an empty bench and familiar faces. She nodded her head saying hi and when she was about to walk home, her phone rang. She picked it up and answered: “Allo, allo, are you there?”

His voice was warm as it always is. She would imagine his mustaches, his eyes, his lips, his smile and his nose. She told him that she was worried. She told him about her thoughts. She asked him what would happen if the sun hits the books, he told her not to worry, because books are made of papers, and papers are made of wood, and wood is made of trees and trees are friends with nature and with the sun. She asked him how bad it would be if she doesn’t manage to sell any book, he told her not to worry, because no matter what she is still in a win-win situation. He said: “You see Angie, it is the initiative that matters and you took an initiative and you also made this first step. This first book sale would be like a first step to introduce people from BUH and from outside BUH to your offices and to your publications. I read somewhere that : “In order to succeed you must fail, so that you know what not to do the next time.” But I know that you won’t fail. I have known you for so long now, to know that when you are stressed out before a big event, you do extremely well and even great.”

She tried to listen to his appeasing words but fighting ideas were still crossing her mind, she asked:

– “What if I run out of books?”

* and he answered: “You told me that you had a student assistant and that she would come to help you, right?”

– “Yes” answered Angie.

* “All you need to do is to wait for the student to come to your stands and then go to the office to get extra copies.”

– “What if I don’t have extra copies in the office?”

*”You told me yesterday that you made a rush order and twisted some procedures in order to get extra copies, do you think you will run out of these extra copies?”

– “I don’t know. Maybe. Everything is possible you know.”

* “If you run out of copies, it would be a good sign that your event is successful. You will simply need to tell your customers to come back in the next couple of days to your office to get the copies they want. And you can always ask for their telephone number and their e-mail address so that you can contact them as soon as you receive the publications they want. Everything will be fine Angie, you will see.”

– “Yes, but what if, they think that we are not very professional, because we don’t have enough extra copies?”

* “Don’t worry about that Angie. Things will be fine. You can always tell them that you didn’t anticipate such a big amount of sales and that your publications ran out. Just be friendly, smile to your customers and assure them that you are taking care of their requests. Show them that you will follow things up and that you will have the publications they want.”

– “Can I skip the whole thing?”

*”Why do you want to do that? I didn’t know that you’d run from a new challenge.”

– “I am scared. What if no one shows up?”

* “You’d spend 4 hours in the shade on this beautiful campus you always tell me about and you’d get to watch the birds, the sun, the sky, the flowers and people. Don’t you always tell me that you don’t have a window in your office? Don’t you always dream of spending some time outside?”

– “Yes, but what if got bored?”

* “Take a book with you and read. You like reading, don’t you?”

– “Yes, I have a book I need to read and do some editing on.”

* “See, Angie, if no one comes, you can always read this book.”

– “Can I still skip the whole thing?”

* “What are you doing this evening?”

– “Can I skip the whole thing?”

*”Angie, listen to me, things are going to be just fine, you will see. I need to go now. We will talk later. Go the gym or something and stop thinking about the book sale event. You will do a great job. I am sure you will.”

(The quote in italic is by Anthony J. D’angelo. The Rest is by Zeina Gabriel)


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