The woman in the discount section of the B&B

I had an interesting experience this weekend at the Barnes and Noble bookstore, and it wasn’t the date I had via eHarmony. That was a dud. The woman wasn’t. She was nice and smart and funny and accomplished but we didn’t click, not even a little. I hate when that happens but more often than not it does.

No. That was Saturday. I’m talking about today, Sunday, in a different Barnes and Noble bookstore (sigh — I miss Borders…anyhoo….), the one closer to my house. I went there because, while waiting for my date at the other B&, I started reading this book entitled Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline, which is very cool but that is not what this post is about. It is only the catalyst. Because I don’t  usually buy books anymore: I get them from the library, but I didn’t want to wait. That’s why I was at the bookstore today.

And while I was there I saw this woman and for some reason I was instantly intrigued by her, drawn to her. She had long, straight, blonde hair, but not like bimbo bleach blonde, like natural blonde, you know. And she was waring a flowery sundress, at least I think it was flowery. She wore sandals. And had glasses, that were very interesting, kind of retro 50s but still contemporary, you know. She had a tattoo on her right shoulder I’m pretty sure; it looked like something with wings. I didn’t want to stare too intently for fear that she would be creeped out by me. Also, she had this sort of old/vintage -looking white purse, like something my mom would have carried in the 70s. I dunno. It was cool. She was cool. And she had on this fragrance — it was intoxicating. Trust me, I know how cornball that sounds but it is true.

She stuck strictly to the discount books. I found myself watching her but at first didn’t think much of it. She was pretty, so I noticed her. I was there to get my book, which I did. I even scoped some other books. But I kept checking for her. She was still over there in the discount section so I returned. I purposely passed her again, and put myself in a position to walk by her, hoping to catch her attention, but she was so focused on perusing the books. Maybe the fact that she didn’t seem to notice me is what hooked me. I don’t know.

All I know is that I wanted very badly to talk to her. And I did, once. I said, “Excuse me” as I passed by her. She returned the comment. I looked for a sign that I could maybe talk to her but saw nothing. I did not want to creep her out. Or get maced or kicked in the balls or anything. I mean, honestly, do strangers just walk up to each other in public places anymore and introduce themselves? It does not seem possible.

Eventually, I got the feeling that she sensed I was watching her, even following her, and that was why she did not explore anymore of the store other than the discount section. She paid for her books and I walked over by the Nook display because I knew she’d have to pass me on her way out. I thought maybe….

But instead she asked for the restroom and went to the back of the store. So of course I took up a position where she would see me when she came out of the bathroom but not so close as to seem as if I was stalking her. I stood by the Lego’s of the the White House and Space Needle etc. She did not seem to notice me.

I watched her go. I though to follow her out, but couldn’t do it. Too late did I go to the window of the store to check the parking lot to see her drive off. And just like that she was gone. I thought, oh well, like anything was going to happen, right.

But here’s the thing. I can’t stop thinking about her. And I don’t know why. I can’t remember the last time something like that happened to me. Maybe it’s a sign of how desperate I’ve become. I don’t know. But I can’t help thinking, Could I find her? Would it be possible? Could I utilize facebook somehow, and perhaps other social media, to find her, to find someone I don’t know and have never met, someone I only know a few scant details about? Is it even worth. Is it advised? Would she think I’m crazy or even dangerous? Yikes!

What do you think? Please advise, opine, and debate. Thanks.

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Of books and jobs

Last night I was at the local Borders for a reading by Megan Abbott from her new novel, The End of Everything. It was an excellent turn-out, filling up all the allotted seats, leaving standing room only. I was happy to stand, eager to hear Megan read — she always does a fine job.

With the closing of Borders this reading may well be one of the last at this particular store. It’s sad. I’ve been hanging out at Borders bookstores since I lived in Ypsilanti, where I attended school at Eastern Michigan University, back in the lat 80s and early 90s. Back then there was just the one store in downtown Ann Arbor, and now it is going to close, leaving a big gap there. I’m not sure what bookstores are left in Ann Arbor. I heard that the small independent bookstore, Shaman Drum, was forced out of business, by Borders ironically (I think that’s ironic anyway…).

Also, I’ve heard that Barnes and Noble is not doing all that well either. Will they last? And if they don’t, what then? Will small independent stores fill in the gaps, or will all bookstores fall by the wayside, leaving only online bookstores such as Amazon.com. Where will authors give readings then? How will this effect publishing?

Of course, there’s also the impact on unemployment. The closing of Borders means the loss of thousands of jobs. And on another jobs-related note, NASA’s space shuttle program ended today with the final landing of the last shuttle, resulting in a loss of thousands of jobs as well.

This morning on the radio, on my way into work, after dropping my daughter off at her grandparents’ for the day, I heard reported that Michigan’s unemployment numbers inched up to 10.5% which is well above the national average of 9.2%.