After my shadow split the sliding glass doors like the Red Sea a blast of lukewarm air smacked my face to make sure my attention was no longer divided but focused on the bargain bonanza displayed all about me. From Hemingway to Stoker and Dickinson to Hugo the king sized tables of oak and cherry stood gallantly like mute waiters holding up small treats to hungry masses before showing them to the main dining hall for supper. Short of taking my cap and coat, a pretty associate of Barnes & Noble smiled and continued on her way to heaven knows where but the Fish & Tackle periodical stuck between her arm and, um, bosom, led me to the conclusion she was on her way to put it back in its’ respective place alongside Guns & Ammo and MADD magazine which, by the way, is as dull as Saturday Night Live and has been for several years. I shuffled in the general direction of Starbucks to retrieve my fix before heading out to get lost in a maze of books made of paper and bound with whatever it is that keeps them together and readable in my hands. It’s the smell of paperbacks mixed with the soft white ceilings and random cartoon drawings of authors strewn about the place which keeps me coming back to this old haunt year after year. I looked around to see other cool cats arriving in style on this late spring Friday night. If you never spent a Friday night at a bookstore then you my friend are missing out, so for your own benefit, I’d advise you to put it on your Bucket list underneath ‘Find out what it’s like to be the epitome of dull’. I stepped on the escalator and began my ascension with suppressed hope of catching someone doing something bizarre beneath me on the first floor. Ever catch someone making a silly face or filling their gullets with food and wish you had a camera to capture the moment? There is little to think about on escalators so I just zone out if nothing is happening down below. I nodded my head like an idiot after a group of teenagers waved at me for no apparent reason. I am sure they moved along to throw eggs at unsuspecting bus riders or skateboard along the newly placed sidewalk or whatever it is those crazy bastards are calling fun these days. As for me, I headed to the second floor to grab Henry James off the shelf, not wanting any trouble from the wild looking gang sitting in the corner I made a quick beeline to the escalator and leaped down the steps three at a time and made it safely to the cashier. I love this store and all the crap inside of it. From the overly priced and useless trinkets, to the leather bound journals waiting to be filled with inventive thoughts, I enjoy the hours spent here in a multitude of good people, brilliant writers and melodramatic music.
The other day I was sorting through the collection of books and random magazines I had acquired over the years because I am moving across country shortly and I wish to take them all with me. Alas, it will not be feasible because I have other items to store in my van, like food, survival gear and courage. I hate the idea of having to part ways with my library even on a temporary basis. Some people adopt animals, others collect cuckoo clocks. I shell out a few spare shillings when I can on the written word. It’s just something I do. I admit my assortment of novels has become priceless to me and to give them up for a time is akin to forcing me to put one of my lungs on EBay and the way I smoke Pall Malls, they wouldn’t fetch much. Granted I am in relatively good shape mind you. But the lung is and will always remain used goods no matter how many miles I run or mountains I manage to climb. Unlike my organs, the literature collecting dust on the shelves of my barren walls become more valuable as time moves forward and only serve to prove the printing press will never be put out to pasture by handheld gadgets and gizmos. We coffee drinking, readers of paperbacks and lovers of sexy librarians are stuck in a world filled with wicked contraptions such as Kindles and Nooks and other mechanical piranhas looking to tear apart the paper between our fingers and put many librarians out of work. I am not being cute I would hate to see any of them standing on the bread line, especially without a book to keep them company.
My family purchased a Kindle for me this past Christmas and it sat on a pile of clothes for about a week before I took it back and told my mom I just couldn’t bring myself use it. I guess some habits are hard to shake and as preposterous as it sounds I felt like I had committed adultery by picking up that horrible machine. Some will call the electronic device convenient and portable. Rubbish I tell you. Balderdash! How big is a book? Put it in your pocket and boom, you’re good to go. Set to travel the world armed with something to do if the monotony gets out of hand and as a bonus, you gain a little bit of renown in the intelligence department. A touch of sophistication women tend to take notice of. If nothing else she will walk away knowing you are literate and from my experience this is a good place to start.