...over a week of intense physical activity:
- Paper is heavy. This is not immediately obvious when you’re holding a single sheet between your fingers, or balancing it delicately on your palms, or preparing little paper planes to be used in a windy setting. Since one sheet weighs nothing, it’s reasonable to assume that this would also be true of a multitude of sheets (nothing multiplied by anything being nothing, etc). But when you take, say 300000 pages spread out across approx 1,000 books, you begin to discover why trees are so difficult to carry around.
- My first minor brush with the incredible heaviness of paper was at the Geneva airport last year when my oleaginous marketing colleague and I had to dump 120 large press kits from numerous watch companies before we were allowed anywhere near the plane. But in the past week, I’ve learnt for certain that paper is by far the most resilient substance known to man. Supposedly indestructible canvas bags and sturdy wooden boxes give way when confronted with the combined might of dozens of hardbacks. Suitcases groan and tear. Even steel trunks bend out of shape and are never the same again. Some of the books I’ve been transporting about would leave large scratches on diamonds if given the chance.
- People who have lots and lots of books should never go anywhere. Consider yourself grounded for life. Or store books electronically.
- A complete set of The Encyclopaedia Britannica can be a singularly pointless thing to own, but it pays off when you suddenly have to find room for hundreds of new books. At such a time, all you have to do is dump the EBs into a bed-box (throw in a few moth-balls for luck), thereby freeing more space than you ever imagined you had.
(No, I haven’t been shifting. Have been helping a friend who was leaving town.)