Marika Malaea

faithful marauder + fake royal

Bookstore Relations

with 18 comments

I heart books.

I heart books.

Bookstores are all about possibilities:   so many potential friends on so many shelves; used books that – whether desperately loved or carelessly discarded – have a second or third chance at being hugged or wept over; tiny reunions with old souls you’d all but forgotten about.  Bookstores are positively ripe with possibility, almost to the point of spoiling – I always have a rush of euphoric recall when I reach the center of one, smell and taste and vision heightened, heart thumping, nerves magnified, blood rushing to wherever blood rushes to – it’s a complete sensory overload from the anticipation, the newness of shiny bindings, the onset of excitement and wistfulness and envy at so many good books I’ll never read; authors I’d forgotten about;  authors who can’t write for shit but get published anyways.   If I had to choose between the best sex ever and an afternoon in a bookstore, I’d probably go with the bookstore – it’s kind of like the best sex ever, only it lasts longer and you leave with souvenirs.  I guess there are sexual souvenirs out there, but they only make up two categories:  the itchy, living kind that involve antibiotics, or the itchy, whining kind who talk back around age ten and charge you money every time you say the phrase ‘motherfucking douchebag.’  Two fucking dollars!  My kid is such a prude.

I wish that choosing a partner were so perfect as being in a bookstore – think of how pleasant that experience could be.  Think of how many different genres there are and how organized everything is:  the worst thing that can happen is shelving a book wrong.   So imagine a bookstore filled with nothing but men:  some of them used, some of them new – some flashy, a few worn and ornery – each one alphabetized and compartmentalized into sections that are useful only to women.  ‘Reformed Cheaters’ could be one section – ‘Bad Boys’ would be corralled in the basement – ‘Married But He’s Totally Going to Leave His Wife’ could be a popular area, as would ‘No Strings Attached But YOU Can Probably Change Him.’  I might also enjoy a ‘Captain Jack Sparrow’ type, or a Nerd Without Boundaries:  you gotta know how to rope them in.   I would most likely head for the ‘Men With Potential’ section, or the very exciting ‘Geek-Nerd-Dork Hybrids’ – an interesting breed, that one.  Sun-deprived, a bit of a loner, starved for company but fine with isolation; too intelligent for games or emotional outbursts; and filled with honesty, loyalty, and terrific ideas from the onslaught of porn they watched while they were single.  That’s my favorite kind of guy, really: the nice guy who supposedly finishes last.  The guy that Tits McGee passed over because she was too busy looking for an asshat with commitment issues – the one who would have treated her right, had she looked past the anti-social tendencies and quiet demeanor.   I can’t tell you how many times women have said to me, “Oh, I wish I could find someone just like your boyfriend, he’s so blah blah blah” – and I’m like, you would never give him the time of day, were he actually single – which he’s not, so good day to you, madam I SAID GOOD DAY.

Dealing with the Web Two-Point-Oh-Shitstorm every minute of the day has taken a serious toll on my relationship with books.  I miss them – the texture of a page, that new book smell, the artwork, finding an obscure reference dictionary that no one but myself would want.  I miss finding scribbled notes on the page margins of used books, I miss reading intimate inscriptions or dedications.  I like having literature-related visceral reactions.  Don’t get me wrong, Amazon is awesome – I also enjoy opening a box of Amazon books with Tigger-like anticipation – but there’s nothing like a good bookstore.  Remember what I said about the best sex ever and an afternoon in a bookstore?  Now I’m thinking those two could be useful together:  sex in a bookstore.  Whatever, I’ve done worse.

It’s so hard introducing new peeps to this blog, because readers get really weird about it (I get a lot of ‘I would have gone if you’d asked ME’ and ‘That person sounds like an idiot’ emails) but y’all will have to deal:  I made a new friend this week.  And guess what?  It wasn’t you.

So myself and said newbie had a light lunch and meandered around Ravenna Third Place Books, swapping stories and getting to know each other for at least a few hours – and I realized I never do that anymore. EVER. And because of that, it was almost intoxicating –  I can’t remember the last time I sat down with someone for more than 20 minutes and actually got to know them.  It’s all Facebook status updates and Twitter updates and once-in-a-blue-moon emails and blog posts and the occasional inebriated overshare. I take these strands of information from people and create tenuous friendships with them – hoping for the best, I guess.  How are most of my friendships built around this format?  I used to have more time and higher standards, I think.  I hope.

I much prefer the in-person job:  eye contact is helpful, the connection feels tangible, the flow of ideas have more mobility.  The newb and I had more in common than I’d originally thought, so that was a pleasant surprise – it was also nice to get an idea of his book tastes, because that’s a Rorschach test unto itself.  Now I want to go back and do this with all of my friends. It’s just as easy to get lost in a person as it is to get lost in a bookstore; more entertaining, even, depending on the human. I pride myself on being a ‘people person,’ and yet I don’t spend a lot of QT with the people I love.  Hanging at the bookstore this week was an enjoyable reminder of that – and also a reminder to start reading again.  It’s been a while.

I think I’m finally becoming a robot.  It’s not as fun as I thought it would be.

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Written by sn0tteh

March 13, 2009 at 4:28 PM

18 Responses

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  1. When I was younger my step-sister took me aside before her wedding and said to me: “I’m going to give you advice right now. It won’t mean anything until you are older, but please remember it: Stacy…marry a dork. They will treat you like a queen, never leave you and will do whatever they can to make you happy for the rest of your life.”

    At 32, the reality of that advice is starting to set in and for the first time in my life I am grateful to the porn industry for bestowing upon my newly found dork enough ideas to keep a girl busy for days.

    love your blog, by the way.

    stacymarie

    March 13, 2009 at 5:22 PM

  2. It’s all so true. ALL OF IT. (ps – glad you like the blog)

    sn0tteh

    March 13, 2009 at 5:48 PM

  3. Nice ruminations! Timely to me since I was at the main Powell’s yesterday roaming amongst the stacks.

    No sex there though. At least, not by me.

    Manthony

    March 13, 2009 at 9:33 PM

  4. I miss Powell’s. Nothing would make me happier than to be wandering around their epic stacks right now. I wish I was a cat.

    sn0tteh

    March 13, 2009 at 9:43 PM

  5. After working in various bookstores throughout the country over the past decade (my job description ranging from lowly barista or bookseller to Department Manager), I’ve seen quite a bit of the “dark and seedy underbelly” that is a bookstore. But ya know what? I still love bookstores with a passion. It’s an addiction, and like you said, the only thing that would make it better would be to add sex. With an awesome dork! Dang, wish I could say I’d done that one. 😉

  6. I like what you have to say about making new friends…its sooo true. And you’ve made me miss used book stores! I love wandering among the books and exposing myself to that element of surprise, where books sometimes jump out to choose their new owners. I seldom walk out of one where I bought anything I was looking for beforehand.

    MarkThrust

    March 14, 2009 at 7:59 PM

  7. Oh, I have to say I love Powell’s. I carry around a dorky Powell’s bag with me everywhere I go.

    Thomas

    March 14, 2009 at 8:52 PM

  8. I love bookstores. Bookstores are an awesome date in my humble opinion. I like to get coffee and then dive into a bookstore and browse for hours……

    Buttercup

    March 15, 2009 at 12:22 AM

  9. Probably my favorite kind of date, B. 🙂 Minus the disgusting coffee.

    sn0tteh

    March 15, 2009 at 2:41 AM

  10. I’ve had a few great browsing adventures with you, “Mark”.

    sn0tteh

    March 15, 2009 at 2:42 AM

  11. That’s what slackers do!

    Kidding. I approve. Powell’s is great, especially when followed by four hours at a prime Portland strip club.

    sn0tteh

    March 15, 2009 at 2:43 AM

  12. Oh, how I miss Powell’s. There is nothing like that here in Nashvegas…

    LilRed

    March 16, 2009 at 6:58 PM

  13. MB you should totally be a ROBOT CAT. Then you could roam sleepy bookshop aisles and use a death ray to annhialate non-dorks. (>_<)

    Matt

    March 17, 2009 at 4:43 PM

  14. I LOVE YOU – this is a good idea.

    sn0tteh

    March 17, 2009 at 5:05 PM

  15. You know, I’m distantly related to the Powell clan (Powell’s my birth name) .

    But that’s not why I wrote: I was awestruck by your choice of bookstore over best sex ever.

    Ridiculous! “Best sex” is already a rare superlative, but you could have an afternoon in a bookstore any time.

    Let’s not compare apples to toe cramps.

    Ross

    March 17, 2009 at 11:51 PM

  16. I can have The Best Sex Ever whenever I want with this dude who sits behind me all day long. At 8AM, 11AM, 3PM, 5:47PM, 8:06PM, 11:20PM, 2AM, 435AM, 6AM: WHENEVER I WANT. I can just walk from my ‘office’ to his ‘office’ and say NOW and it’s on. That’s pretty instantaneous, and also (allegedly) frequent. But having the luxury of four hours in a bookstore happens maybe twice a year – I don’t have the time, nor do I have the kind of personality that relaxes easily – so a stolen moment in a bookstore (with a friend, boyfriend, or alone) is a precious commodity in my world. Yep, even more than the best sex ever. 🙂

    Powell’s cred!

    sn0tteh

    March 18, 2009 at 4:19 PM

  17. Ok, you got me – maybe I was projecting, based on some particulars that only you are familiar with.

    Oh…and you need more convos!

    Best part of your now-unified blog, next to your reflective prose 🙂

    Ross

    March 20, 2009 at 3:14 AM

  18. Aren’t you a sweet talker

    sn0tteh

    March 20, 2009 at 3:43 AM


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