Note: If you are someone who has ever appeared to be the slightest bit open to paranormal explanations for everyday occurrences, I will happily infuse whatever subsequent conversations we have with that topic so that you don’t have to look like the crazy one.
Friend: So we have this bookcase, and recently it started groaning.
Friend: Yes. Creaking and making all these weird noises. And the cats hate it, and it really freaks out [spouse who works at home all day]. At one point we tried to put some books on top of the bookcase? And a few minutes later they just flew off the bookcase.
Me: Flew off the bookcase?
Friend: Yes, flew off the bookcase.
Me: Well, you do buy a lot of antique stuff off of eBay, maybe some of it was cursed!
Friend: I mean, yes, it’s tilting away from the wall a little bit, but not so much that books would FLY off it.
Me: Did you get the bookcase off of eBay?
Friend: It’s a built-in.
Me: Well, then, a ghost is pushing your bookshelf away from the wall. Clearly.
Friend: There’s probably not a level surface in the entire apartment, actually. And I can’t imagine a ghost actually wanting to move in with us . . .
Me: These Manhattan apartment buildings are full of ghosts. Bursting with ghosts. Generations of angry tenants fill the air around us.
Friend: We were thinking of getting some shims.
Me: Maybe the ghost is actually pushing the bookcase away from the wall . . . with its ghostly . . . feet? Trying to flee your apartment?
Friend: . . .
Me: So, yeah.
Me: (big sigh)
Friend: (sip of water)
Me: Have you figured out who your cats used to be in their past lives?!
Postscript: I might have made up some of this conversation. We’ve been traveling and speaking a lot to promote the book and when I’m tired there’s no telling how the truth is going to unravel.
Post Postscript: After lunch we walked over to the mall in Columbus Circle, in which the dying chain bookstore did not have a copy of Let’s Panic. But the view was terrific.