Tuesday, January 08, 2008

The Morose Bookseller

Last week, the receptionist at my office sent around an email announcing that her brother is closing up his shop, and is unloading all books for $1. I felt pretty bad receiving the email, as I didn't even know his bookstore was there. I like reading, and the store is an easy walk from my office. Ergo, it must be my fault that Brother Bookseller is going out of business.

Despite my love of the outdoors, fresh air, and all that good stuff, I don't regularly go for walks at lunchtime (probably why I didn't know about the bookstore). I have too hard a time with the temperature fluctuations: when it's hot outside, it's cool inside, and vice verse. I don't like getting all sweatified in my office lady clothes. Not that my clothes are what most people would consider fancy, but to me, if it's not denim, I feel black tie.

With this freakish warm spell, though, I couldn't resist. I headed out at a rapid clip, walking a big loop around the downtown area so that I would pass the closing bookstore on my back to the office. When I first entered, it was desolate: very few books, and no shopkeeper in sight. I persisted with my sweaty browsing, and predictably found a couple of books worth buying.

It wasn't until Brother Bookseller came downstairs to accept my money that I realized there was a whole second story I'd missed. Needing to get back to work, I made some inane comment, I'll have to come back tomorrow. The response of Brother Bookseller was crushing. In the most despondent fashion imaginable, barely able to raise his head, he muttered, if I am still open. I understand that closing the shop is probably the hardest thing this man has done; he is giving up on a dream, a passion, a life. It can't be easy. But regardless of my easy feelings of guilt, the failing business is not really my fault, and now I feel even worse.

Will I return as promised? We'll see. I don't know if I can face that despair again so soon.

3 comments:

Andy said...

Ugh. There's a bookstore in Richmond that I really like that I'm constantly, constantly afraid is going to go out of business.

Of course, the hours are not at all palatable for the nocturnal, and it's too far to go during my work break unless he also installs a fountain drink machine.

Nadine said...

Oh how sad. It makes me think of that awful movie You've Got Mail when the main character loses her bookstore because of a big box one.

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

Where is this place?

I wonder if it is one I used to go to when I lived in Old Hometown?

How very sad.

I hate that little bookstores go out of business because of big ones and already many other small bookstores in Old Home town went out. And then there is AMAZON--it's so tempting to shop for books from the warmth and comfort of the home in your PJs--at least I think so--but how sad, how very sad.

I missed this post earlier.

I haven't been on-line much in the last week.