I looked up a book, States of Matter by David Goodstein, yesterday on Amazon, thinking about purchasing it. Except that Amazon told me that I last purchased this book on February 12, 2020.
I quickly checked my library database. Many-many years ago, I did a complete inventory of all our books, and since then, I’ve been keeping that database meticulously updated. New books that come to our house land on my desk and stay there until I enter them into the database. This is the only way to keep that database synchronized with reality.
The Goodstein book is not in the database.
I do not remember ordering it. I do not remember receiving it. Yet it clearly happened: The credit card transaction is there, duly entered into my books. The e-mails from Amazon, duly archived in the appropriate folder.
Now it is true that it happened just two and a half weeks before my last overseas trip. Could it be that I simply forgot about this order in the days leading up to my travel, and then never realized that the order failed to arrive? Perhaps. But then, why do I remember clearly other books that I ordered around the same timeframe? Besides, though my trip was upcoming it was not that close; this order and the supposed delivery happened two weeks before my departure.
I would be less suspicious, mind you, were it not for the fact that another weird thing happened yesterday. I have a tiny promotional toy sitting on my monitor. Yesterday, I found its identical twin brother in a box in which I was looking for something else altogether. This is definitely beginning to feel like that moment in The Matrix when Neo sees a black cat cross the hall… and then, a moment later, the same black cat cross the same hall in the same direction once again.
Still doesn’t help me with the Goodstein book. Should I keep looking for it? Under the rug, perhaps? Cat dragged it off to the litter box? Or should I just write it off and buy another copy?