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Opinion: Please Stop Rummaging Through the Little House I Built for My Books

Suburbs have always existed in a symbiotic relationship to their neighboring cities. And in turn, suburbanites exist in symbiotic relation to their neighbors. If you need a cup of sugar or a postage stamp, you know exactly where to turn. However, in the microcosm of communal stewardship that is our cul de sac, it is nevertheless imperative that we establish boundaries. It is in spirit of this that I make the following humble request:

Please stop rummaging through the little house I built for my books to live inside of.

I understand full well the allure of my book collection; the constant urge to run your fingers over the spines, pausing to withdraw a volume and fan out its moldy pages, breathing in ecstasy—this is why I had to give them their own outdoor home, away from my wandering eye. But you must understand that my books are not for sale.

Oh, I’m sorry, did you think my precious tomes were available to you free of charge? I suppose you assume the dog in my doghouse is yours for the taking as well. Will you at least spare the family of chickadees who have taken up residence in the birdhouse? The eggs will hatch soon if you should deign them worthy of living.

I’m afraid I must take partial responsibility for leading you on by displaying my sun-bleached treasures within arm’s reach of the sidewalk. But it was of the utmost importance that I install my tiny Atheneum at the farthest outpost of my estate. This way when I burst naked from the house in one of my fits, there is ample time for the cool night air to bring me to my senses before I crumple to the ground, writhing in shame on the wet grass, my books perched soundly in their grange, safe from defilement.

I would also ask that you refrain from making any deposits in my biblio-hutch. My collection is meticulously curated and there is a very limited amount of space. If I need a copy of Twilight: Eclipse, I’ll come root around in your home for it, since that is apparently the precedent we have set.

I trust this finds you well, and I do hope you will consider my previous offer of spousal swapping.

Good day.