my first & only reference to a bob seger song in a post
On a long and lonesome highway, east of Omaha
(this is quite accurate, btw)
You can listen to my lovely rambling about one lone bookstore
(and my tales of last Friday night)
You can think about me, or the girl you knew the night before
(but probably me, since you’re here anyway. Wha? Rambling? Ok. Back to the point)
But my thoughts will soon be wandering, the way they always do
(sorry. I can’t help it. Besides, now I know you’re thinking about me…)
Here I go, yeah, whatever. Blah, blah, blah. Playing star again….
Just turn the page already.
Chapter 1 – The Science Fiction Author
It was great to meet you, new science fiction writer. Your eagerness to do a “meet and greet” and sign copies of your books rivaled a supernova, burning so bright you actually came to the bookstore the night before the scheduled event to “map out your territory,” which is how I believe you described it. You were truly charming, and the snappy “Google” t-shirt and unique – read ‘extremely high waisted’ - pants you wore clinched it for me. Getting your entourage of two virginal friends to then hover around like cute little Ewoks, asking if I could find copies of “Reading Stargate SG-1” in the store while also outlining the merits of the newest Tolkien book for me truly pushed my tolerance capacity to a place that can only be described as a galaxy far, far enough. Were I able to get my fingers to fall into place that way, I too would have given you the Vulcan salute upon your departure. I shall have to settle for the one the three of you gave me, instead, as you beamed your way out the front doors.
Chapter 2 – The “Groper Kids”
Friday nights at Barnes & Noble means more customers, people willing to pay in cash after payday, and the uncaging of the groper kids – the delightful teenage couples bonded together below the waist and with arms twisted around each other’s necks. The Gropers spend four or more hours melting into the upholstered chairs or laying tangled together on the stage in the children’s department, giggling over copies of the Kama Sutra and ‘position of the day’ books. Often making out with such a fervent power I don’t know whether to be offended or deeply jealous. Touching parts of each other that would require the showing of a driver’s license and a handful of coins were you in any other type of “book store.” Leaving us as employees with the creepy sense we need to wear latex gloves when we’re inevitably left to toss away their menagerie of half-empty Starbuck’s cups. My favorite groper kid from last week? The one bold enough to wear the “I ‘heart’ Hot Moms” t-shirt. That has to make his mom proud. Alas, I would have totally dug that kid when I was in high school.
Chapter 3 – Disney Diehards
Ah, sweet family of three. I know my question of “Did you find everything you were looking for tonight?” seemed unnecessary as you plopped five Disney vacation books on the counter before me, but it was when I glanced up and had my eyes opened up like Sleeping Beauty roused by the kiss of her Prince Charming that I knew you were hardcore. I dig Disney World as much as the next person who’s tolerated long lines and irrational fears of Space Mountain (don’t ask), but your full dress uniforms of Disney apparel spoke to your passion for all things mouse. Mom’s Tigger t-shirt complemented by the Winnie the Pooh earrings. Dad’s golf shirt featuring miniature Goofy’s, sporting his own jaunty golf attire and ready to tee off. Junior’s patriotic Donald Duck airbrushed t-shirt. It was all so beautiful. That you cemented your purchase by whipping out your Walt Disney World Visa card assured me you were well on your way to earning consumer points that would help you secure this dream Disney vacation you’re prepping for. But you must’ve needed a few more points, for I feared we were going to battle, Scar and Mufasa style when, after asking where the Disney Store was in the mall, I had to inform you there was none. “What!? There’s no Disney Store in this mall?!” mom yelped. “Well, do you know? Do you know where the nearest Disney Store is?!” bumbled dad. “How can there not be a Disney Store in this mall?!” cried Junior. “It’s a small world, folks,” I replied with a smile (damn right I did!). “I’m sure if you wish upon a star, your dreams will come true.” But inside? Inside I was thinking a Disney detox was seriously in order.
Chapter 4 – Listen Lady, There Really Is No Secret To “The Secret”
We’re still selling copies of “The Secret” as if this little tome contained the key that would unlock the bounties of the universe upon its readers. Of course, most people wanting it don’t know where to begin looking for it. Part of the problem is they come to us asking “for Oprah’s newest book.” “Oprah’s not written a book,” some of us (i.e. “me”) will say, because we obviously have some less than “Secret” negative thoughts about the book and it’s theories. In addition, many shoppers don’t even know what it’s about, but want to purchase it because Oprah says to. We like to see their shock when we tell them it’s not shelved with the religious books (because, since Oprah is God, it would seem natural, right?), but is instead in the New Age section. Most of the people buying the book have been unwilling or unable to look us in the eye when asking for it. I’ve not yet figured that one out. One theory of the book is not to look at or even think about something you don’t wish to have or be, so that might actually be a reason. Especially considering how jaded we booksellers can be about this book. However, I like to believe they realize they’re spending $25 on a book that can be summarized in two words – common sense. Or, according to my work husband, utter crap. That or they’re afraid to harness the power of having a kick ass rack themselves, and thus turn their blind eye to me during their search. Yeah. I’m sure that’s it. Because that’s my secret in this power of positive thinking.
Because I have no better way to cap this thing off.