Saturday, July 11, 2015

Bringing Back The Library Card

Bookstores, in their library-like nature, seem to demand hushed voices.  These days, bookstore cafes have taken the place of libraries in that they've become places to go to read. And have coffee and a snack. I consider a bookstore to be a retail library.

In every major chain bookstore that offers a cafe - I frequent Barnes & Noble most often, but I've also visited Books-A-Million, Hastings, and Joseph-Beth among others - I've noticed how the cafe has become a place for people to sit quietly, read books and magazines, and study.  If you're in a Barnes & Noble anywhere near a university, you'll notice numerous kids huddled around tables, hunched over laptops and textbooks littering their surfaces.

Today I went to a Barnes & Noble to catch up on my magazine reading.  I grabbed a few books and magazines and settled in at a tiny table in the corner.  I always look for a table near an outlet so I can charge my computer, iPad or phone if needed.  Ed grabbed his magazines and sat across from me.

Two tables over was a group of three young women with infants. The women looked like babies themselves, in their tank tops with giant armholes showing their bras and too tight short-shorts - it looked as if they were trying to squeeze their post-pregnancy body into pre-pregnancy clothing. The mothers were sipping coffee and eating snacks and the kids were screaming their fucking heads off.

I know when one becomes a parent, there's a tendency to act as if no one in the world other than you and your children exist, but what is with mothers who take their screaming kids to public places? Restaurants, movies, bookstores. I don't have a problem with silent, well-behaved children, and I know it's not easy to silence a screaming infant, but perhaps you shouldn't take your kid out to these places if you can't keep them quiet.   

Thankfully, the three teen moms finally left. There were still way too many kids in the cafe, but at least they weren't screaming.

And then, the woman in the photo sat down next to me.  So close, I felt like she was sitting at my table. There were at least seven other empty tables, but obviously she had to pick this one.
And from the moment she occupied that space, I wanted to punch her in the lip.

She moved a high-chair from the table.  Then brought another chair back to her table. She put her briefcase/suitcase? on the table, then on the other chair. She set up her computer, plugged her cellphone in to the USB port. Got up to place her order. Sat back down. Got up to get a napkin. Sat back down. Got up to get a cup of water. Sat back down. Got up to get her drink. Sat back down. Got up to get a straw. Sat back down. Got up to get her sandwich. Sat back down. Holy shit. Has she ever heard of efficiency, getting everything you need in one trip?

And because the tables were so close together, she had to shimmy between the chairs each time she moved. She was very fidgety. She unwrapped her sandwich, crinkling the paper like a 5-year-old opens Christmas presents, and got up again to get something else from the counter. When she sat back down and began eating the sandwich - she kept the sandwich in her lap - she noisily licked her fingers clean after each bite. Smack, smack, smack.  Loudly. Then she wiped them with the napkin and moved her finger around the mouse pad on her computer before she took another bite of the sandwich.

Three bites in she decided to say a prayer.  She sat with her eyes closed, clasped her hands in prayer and mouthed an extremely long prayer. Way too long for a sandwich. She then repeated the eating, finger-licking, napkin-wiping process.  When she was done she crumpled the sandwich paper at least fourteen times before she set it aside. She could have awakened a hibernating bear with all the noise she was making.

She continued typing on her laptop while fidgeting and talking to herself. It was actually like she was talking to someone else though because she paused - as if waiting for them to answer - then began talking again, nodding her head as if in agreement with whatever they, or she, was saying. She wasn't actually talking out loud, but visibly mouthing the words.  Either is weird.

I have a very low tolerance level for strange.  I was done reading my magazines and couldn't stand another minute of her annoying behavior, so I had to leave. She was so distracting, her movements catching my eye and disturbing my library-like magazine-reading peace.

I might have to start smuggling coffee and scones into an actual library.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2014: Moab Muster
2013: Farm To Garden
2012: You Know You’re Getting Old When You Start Carrying Your Own Sugar
2011: America Runs On Dunkin’
2010: Los Links!!
2009: Here Kitty Kitty Kitty
2008: Intense Eddie Friday
2007: It’s An iPod, Not A wePod
2006: Doing The Wade
2005: It’s A Numbers Game


ngd4096 said...

I just found your blog a short while ago and subscribed to it because I enjoy your posts so much. The one that truly drew me in was your post after the Supreme Court's decision on gay marriage. Now I am totally hooked and a fan for life as you are not only obviously very bright and a good thinker, but you are also so damned HONEST !!! Oh, I ove it and I absolutely get it !!! So much fun, you are, you are !! Thank you for your blog. Really, truly enjoyable.

The Daily Rant said...

NANCY: I got your comment on the Supreme Love post. Glad you liked it! And I'm really glad you're hooked. I appreciate the time you take to leave a comment. It's nice to know that someone other than my mother has something to say. LOL I'm glad you enjoy the honesty and that you "get it". Those are the kind of people I love - ones who "get it"! Keep on reading! Have a great week!