10 Things I Realized at Barnes & Noble

Some nights a guy just has to drive. Monday night (Aug. 22 — just for the record), was essentially a perfect night. It’s New York State Fair “season.” August is settling down, and the northeast United States is preparing itself for autumn. It can be smelled. Skin can begin to adjust to the more comfortable of temperatures,. There is a craving to wear layers and ties more often during the day and while lying in bed.

Lower the windows. Turn up the music.

Similar to antique store excursions, book store ventures — Barnes & Noble in particular — usually (and thankfully) ends with empty hands.

One. There was a clear reminder CNY drivers are borderline psychopaths. If it wasn’t the number of people during the week weaving in the lanes or blatantly running red lights, it’s this: While pulling into the parking lot, the car crossing the entrance did not yield. My slamming on my brakes almost lead to the person following me into the lot.

Two. No reason for my going into the bookstore. It’s only another attempt to further avoid issues and conflict. To further coax out and validate my passive aggressive tendencies, the excuse was used to find books on improv.

Three. Going on by previous searches in the past, I know damn well B&N does not have books on improv.

Four. A door is always held for at least one person. Everyone has said thank you.

Five. The pattern of walking through the store is the same: B-line to the poetry section, strafe right to the collections, revisit the poetry section and make sure nothing was overlooked. (I knew I should have bought Love is a Dog From Hell when the one chance presented itself… and then when the second-chance redemption presented itself.) What comes next is the plays and theatre. Next, it’s to see what is on sale before heading over to the bargain section for a diamond in the rough.

Six. There are still no books on improv.

Seven. However, there is this: Michael Cain told me to try everything.


Eight. The nook near the cozy reading section by the journals: A perfect place to jazzercise. The ’80s music bumping through the overhead speakers yielded some cognitive response. The woman in sweats and a typical tourist sweatshirt — let’s go with Cape Cod and its overzealous sea and boating cliches — got down and dirty. The reason I don’t know the place on the sweatshirt is because of wanting to avoid eye contact, which was met for a half-second upon initially discovering the display.

Nine. Perhaps I’m taking myself too seriously. I need to get over whatev–Yep. And then this at eye level:


Ten. The Authoritative Calvin & Hobbes sat on the discount table in between the bargain books and cash register. I already have this book among other collections of Bill Watterson’s masterpiece comic strip. However, I had to pick it up.

[10.1: The scent from the pages still smelled like newly printed pages of a new book despite this book’s long shelf life. The aroma is crisp, moderately powerful and borderline annoying if there is too much of it. If it were comparing candles, the pages would be the typical “ocean breeze” scent, which matches expectations while inhaling a good waft, but it will gain the patron’s confidence to buy it for the sake of having it. 10.09: Looking at the comic strip collections was the highlight of running errands with mom as a kid, especially when going to The Paper Cutter Books and Office and Party Supply in Camillus, the Kasson Road side of the evolved shopping plaza. The shopping plaza also contained a Hills (where the toys were) and JC Penny was across the lot. Camillus Mall, rest its soul, could be accessed through the department store’s doors. 10.08:  The books in said store had that particular odor to them. It wasn’t a bad odor: It smelled like fresh print. Fresh print to a child bibliophile meant new mental adventures. 10.07: Remembering the summer days of adventure, whether it was creating it with friends or by my lone, creative-minded self. The duo taught me that imagination is powerful and can be, at times, too powerful. 10.06: Calvin and Hobbes gave me reason to want to become a cartoonist. The only problem: I was a shitty drawer. 10.05: Other inspirations: Jim Davis’ Garfield, Charles Schulz’s Peanuts and Gary Larson’s The Far Side10.04 The Paper Cutter store, which has a too long of a name than it should have had, was part of the Fay’s Drugs. 10.03: Fay’s, which was started in Fairmount, was “not your average drug store.” 10.02: New similar business models go for the shorter, all encompassing names, i.e. Office Max or Staples. 10.01: I miss Borders, but fuck their music section.]

Well, I’ve done a great job of taking my mind off things. Why the hell was I even here in the first place?

Oh, yeah. The same reason as the abandoned “alternate title” for this post: Sometimes to escape reality, being surrounded by fiction is the way to go, get lost and help yourself.

One thought on “10 Things I Realized at Barnes & Noble

  1. No kidding. Fuck Borders and their $17.99 CDs. Fifty different music shops in the mall yet 30 percent of their square footage was devoted to music priced $3-8 higher than anyone else. It’s like they wanted to fail. Bastards.

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