What would Abraham Lincoln do?

I've been feeling pretty good about myself lately. In particular, I'm proud of the way I've been supporting the local economy. Not only am I proud to pay the meals tax at many locally owned restaurants and coffee shops, I've also been doing some shopping down at the plaza.

Shopping on the plaza isn't something I normally do. I love all the little shops down there, and I do my yearly Christmastime excursion through downtown with my sister with a regularity you could set a clock to, but generally there's just not much down there that I need. I like to look at kitchen gadgets, but as I don't cook, and I try my hardest not to clean, I can't usually justify buying myself any of those things. I also don't need pajamas, though they always look really nice in the window. Generally I just collapse into bed in my sweatpants after an evening of wearing myself out through a rigorous routine of snacking and watching "Grey's Anatomy."

Jewelry is gorgeous. I love it. I watch the bracelets on my sister's arm clink against each other and always wish I could pull it off. Unfortunately I lack the graceful limbs necessary for that. I lose rings, and I live in terror that my son will rip an earring right out of my head. I can already envision my two-pronged earlobe flapping in the breeze.

But while I was downtown on my post kindergarten drop-off coffee pilgrimage, I actually started to shop downtown. I bought myself a book, which made me feel pretty pleased with myself. It was a book I had been looking forward to, and I even got it at a discount because it was a best-seller. I went home and read the whole thing that very day. I'm not going to say what the book was — I tend to read fairly trashy books. That's why paying cash at a bookstore is better than using a library card: there's no proof. I'm sure America's counterterrorism unit would be thrilled to know that I've read, several times, a book chronicling a late night TV host's one-night stands. I'd also like to take this moment to send a brief apologetic thought toward my high school English teachers. Apparently I have never learned to appreciate The Great Works. My sister comes home for a visit and reads Anna Karenina; I reread the "Harry Potter" series.

After doing my part to support the local, independently owned bookstore, I took myself to Target (after all, I can only do so many good deeds at a time). I was disappointed to see the very book I had just bought and read and dog-eared beyond returnability was for sale a whole $5 cheaper than what I had just paid. I suddenly became a muttering, pacing, grumbling version of myself. I walked up and down in the aisle in front of the book. I felt like the book had been placed there as a personal affront to me. I sadly looked in my wallet and tried to imagine what it would look like with an extra Abraham Lincoln looking back up at me.

So now, as I ruefully do some online banking, I try to cheer myself up. It's not that I lack financial savvy, it's that I'm supporting my local economy. I don't shop at Shop'n Kart because it happens to be the closest grocery store to my house, I shop there because I'm doing the environmentally correct thing. I don't drink my coffee at The Roasting Company because it's just plain, good coffee, I drink there to stick one to the man up at Starbucks! Now excuse me while I go get myself some muffin pans, an organic cotton nightgown and some handcrafted jewelry, all to make myself feel better about paying an extra $5 for a book.

Zoë's dream is to have a book club dedicated to trashy novels. Contact her about this, or anything else, at dailyzoe@gmail.com.

Share This Story