At Elliot Bay Books today, I was waiting while my purchase was being rung up. A cashier stood at the end of the counter twisting a length of kite string around a perfectly round foot-in-diameter ball of string. Three of his co-workers hung back, waiting for customers. They paid no attention to their co-worker — or anyway, they paid him no more attention then they would have if he had been straightening a stack of magazines. I ignored him too, pretending that I wasn’t both confused and impressed by his creation.