Saturday, June 21, 2008

I get oddly nostalgic for my old bookstore this time of year...

...I am not sure exactly why...because working at the bookstore was absolutely torturous in the summer. The store is practically down-the-block from the ocean, and many mornings I would be helping people who were stopping by for beach reads...they would often run in wearing bathing suits and already smelling of suntan lotion. We would also have a great (great great) deal of "summer people" that shopped in our store...people who didn't live nearby, but had summer homes (mansions) in town and would come in acting like our only purpose in life was to serve them.

(And do not even get me started on those that would come in the first week of September with a summer reading list and would fight with me that they needed the SHORTEST BOOK ON THIS LIST. You know what? It is absolutely not MY fault that your kid waited until the last minute to read A Separate Peace...which already IS one short book. No, I don't have anything shorter. I still have nightmares about some of those lists.)

However, I get nostalgic...and I miss it. I started working at the bookstore May 2001...and stayed there until June 2006. Since I went full-time when I didn't have classes during the summertime, it makes sense that, to me, Summer=Barnes and Noble Slavegirl.

THe other day, I was talking to my friend and former coworker, Mike. He told me that he had recently stopped by another Barnes and Noble, and he was watching the kid at the customer service station and he..."Had that look in his eyes. You know...that look you know we all must have had..."

Oh, I know that look he was talking about.

I can divide my five years at Barnes and Noble into three parts of a timeline...

Part I
This is amazing. I am working at Barnes and Noble. I am a wannabe writer, and I am surrounded by books! I get a 30% discount. Life cannot get any better than this.

Part II
Okay. It's only for now. Only for now. Only for now. I am not going to be working here forever. It's only for now. Only for now. Only for now.

Part III
GET ME OUT OF THIS PLACE. THE NEXT PERSON WHO ASKS ME, "DO YOU WORK HERE?" DIES. I MEAN THAT. NO, YOU IDIOT...I DON'T WORK HERE. I JUST REALLY REALLY LOVE WALKING AROUND WITH A NAMETAG AROUND MY NECK FOR A STORE THAT I DO NOT WORK AT. I AM NEVER GOING TO FIND A JOB AND GET OUT OF THIS PLACE. I AM GOING TO BE WORKING HERE FOREVER. I AM GOING TO BE HELPING THE GREAT-GRANDCHILDREN OF THE CHILDREN I AM HELPING TODAY WITH THEIR SUMMER READING LISTS. "AH, YES, I REMEMBER THAT GIRL...SHE HASN'T AGED VERY WELL..."

However, there was something oddly magical about my first year or so at the bookstore. I made some friends when I started there that ended-up becoming true kindred spirits. (Including one, a rumpled young man who started to ask a question then looked at me and said, "I think you're as new as I am and have no idea either, right?" It was his first day, too...we both stayed there for years and became very good friends.)

I started out loving to come to work every day...I loved helping people and knowing that I had just introduced a child to the MAGIC of Peter and Fudge Hatcher. (It's the little things in life...)

1 comment:

Lisa said...

I completely understand... I absolutely miss working customer service at my hotel in Louisiana. If it paid enough, I'd go back to doing that in a heartbeat. Sure we had our share of rude and obnoxious customers, but I loved discussing with tourist new places to go and having them come back and tell me what a great time they had. I also loved the regulars who stayed every monday thru friday and became very good acquaintances. :)