I write on Open Salon under the name "escrito por nada". This is something I posted there,today.
You’ve seen them. You may be one. They’re the wonderfully odd people who work in bookstores. They fit into all kinds of categories of strange. Often somewhat introverted they come to life when they start to talk about books, or music, or movies on DVD. They often wear clothes that were the essence of style at some point. It’s just that no two pieces of apparel are from the same era.
"The Girl in the Cat Eye Glasses" (actually not)
Last week we were out of town and were looking for a movie our daughter recommended. We were sent to see Jason. Jason was energized. He talked fast – we were in New York State and everyone talks faster than I think there – moved jerkily, and had a full beard and the most amazing hair I think I’ve ever seen.
Imagine a black haired Donald Trump who had been caught in a windstorm and then slept on his head, arising just long enough to grab a cup of coffee before heading to work. That will bring you close to the image.
He knew everything about the 15 year old movie we were interested in and took us directly to the rack that held it. I imagined that he had an encyclopedic knowledge about every movie in the store.
I wondered about his hair. Did he know exactly what he was doing, striving to achieve that look, or was he completely unaware of his head?
Whichever the case he was infinitely more interesting to talk to than the man we bought our washer and drier from, a retired business executive looking for something to do, who was interested in telling us about who he knew and how much trouble he was having selling his home in Hattiesburg and the cottage at the beach. He had dressed down for the appliance store job, but he was undeniably the product of corporate America’s ladder to success.
Still, he did a good job, gave us the best price that the company would allow, and seemed genuinely interested in his job and us.
Bookstores used to be my favorite place to spend a Saturday afternoon. I read the first page of so many books looking for the right one, that I had a hard time keeping up with which books I had already read. I loved the feel of a paperback, the heft of a hardcover, and the smell of the store, a sort of potpourri of printers ink, paper, and the coffee aromas wafting in from the wi-fi café.
A shelf of worn paperbacks. Is this history?
Just a few years ago we had lots of choices and there was a Books – a – Million or a Hasting’s in just about every town of any size. The chain bookstores suffered greatly before the recession as competition from on-line stores like Amazon brutalized them.
Today, we have a local store catering to political conservatives and evangelical Christians, but we have to drive an hour and a half to get to a town big enough to have a Barnes and Noble. Border’s, the other large chain is gone along with its affiliates. I have nothing against Barnes and Noble. In fact, I want them to succeed. It’s just that I miss the choices. A cup of coffee and a scone at Joe Muggs was part of my weekend ritual for years.
The "Nook": A wonderful instrument that will never be a book.
There are plusses and minuses to the change in the way we buy and read books. If I could still read newsprint I would not want to curl up with a Kindle or a Nook. I know that, for writers, the advent of digital books has been something of a boon. Instead of getting cents from the sale of a paperback, writers can get dollars from the sale of a digital book. Still, it’s just not the same.
And, what is going to happen to Alice, the girl with the tattoo of Toulouse Lautrec and cat eye glasses, or Jason with the incredible hair and love of movies?
The images are google royalgy free images or were from a site expressly giving permission to share.