Saturday, February 20, 2010

Bookselling on a Saturday, meditations on weekend labor in a grammatically suspect, run-on-sentency- postmodern- meanderation

Most people, when prompted to comment on my line of work, and the hours that I generally keep, tend to squirm when they hear that I work on the weekends. I understand why they think that this is a travesty, but I want to take a moment to draw a sketch of why book selling on a Saturday in Brookline is the best time to work.



((If you've ever worked in a coffee shop, or cookie shop, deli, or the like...there are most likely certain smells which cause you to be throttled back in time to that particular job. Olfactory triggers are fantastic for time travel. Sometimes it makes it hard for baristas to go to cafes without being triggered...(this is a phenomena I like to think of as the labor- trigger)))...



I just came back from NYC, where I went to St Mark's bookstore in the lower East Side...and what an amazing bookstore they have. ..seriously, funky and chic...to the 9's...anyway....while I was browsing it dawned on me that I still love being around books during my free time...is it possible that the "labor-trigger" doesn't apply to booksellers?

(don't worry I'm getting to my point soon)...



Today is my first day back to work, and it also happens to be a Saturday. I spent a good portion of my shift at the register. Helping people enjoy their one solid chore-free, work- free day off. The people who work 9-5...you come and see me on Saturday...you stay for a while, you browse...you ask about the music we're playing...(Angus&Julia Stone right now)...you ask us for book recommendations...(Jason Lasdun's It's Beginning to Hurt) and you are smiling when you get to me at the register. The shift is full of exchanges, and time takes on a lithe- acrobatic quality; and before I know it...I'm walking home. Saturdays are my Monday...

I wish I could return the favor, show up at your office on a Monday...walk around and be the cool stranger who informs the rest of your day with my appreciation for your line of work. But I won't, because that might be creepy...and I do have some boundaries...

For sure for sure for sure...an independent bookstore is more than a market, it is a cultural theatre, an actual agora,...not an ambient assemblage of pointing and clicking on a pixilated purchase...when you are here... you are a participant in a cultural moment, a shared space...the blue light of your Internet Explorer puts the world at your fingertips, there is no denying that...but you can't put your fingertips back on the world...

I work on Sundays too.
Bring your dog.
I'll be at the register.

1 comment:

elizabeth said...

I work on the weekends too, people seem to be in a better mood in your store...