Mission Impossible: A night op to fight teen angst

Operation Humanities

It was early evening. I was on a mission to help fight teen angst. I decided to start in a place rarely seen by the afflicted—the bookstore.

Armed with cash and dressed for combat, I jumped in the car. Objective: books. Field of battle: a bookstore. Motive: to enlighten a young mind. Targets: philosophy, literature, and art journal supplies. Conflict: demand greater than supply.

Recon, from the parking lot, revealed a high-traffic environment. The store was in its final days. Books were priced to move. (All fixtures too!) This may get bloody.

I entered the store. I scanned for the target genre. It was tough as the field looked tossed and battle worn.

Cloaked in suburban mommy wear, I stalked unnoticed. Shoppers seemed focused on their own targets. In fact, I noticed that several were consulting lists and scoping the territory.

All of the sudden, a primal need to consume indiscriminately kicked in. It didn’t matter what it was. I wanted to have rather than not.

My eye flushed red. My knees bent. My back coiled. I was about to lose my humanity.

Later, as I approached my car, my vision cleared. I had books in hand—a couple for the teen and a few for myself.

Mission accomplished.

Sunday, September 4, 2011. I snapped the pic with my Kodak Z7590 then put the photo through a filter using Photoshop. The store receipt reflected $44 in savings.

A Visit to the Bookstore: The unnecessary sequel

Out browsing books yesterday at a big box retailer, I was feeling giddy. The store was going out of business. The inventory was decimated. Regardless, I hoped to find a few gems left in the wash.

Several sections still had books—philosophy, religion, literature. Looking to fill my own bookshelves with philosophy, literature, religion, fiction, translated classics, even anthologies with featured editors, my mind ticked with the possible and the probable.

This was going to take a while.

Starting with philosophy, I browsed for Plato or Socrates.  They had left the building. What remained was an odd lot. Some masters and some 19th century know-it-alls. Either way, most of the remaining books were focused on a modern, ethical analysis of each.

I sought religion. Finding it, the books looked sifted-through and passed over. So, I’m late to the party? Perhaps I still find a nice version of the Torah or the Bible—something with footnotes, filigree, even pop-ups—for the uninitiated and dubious?  Instead there was a shelf filled with Christian faith perspectives. I shuffled through a few titles but nothing called out to me. Figures.

Turning East, I spotted a copy of the Mahabharata. It was a tired, pulpy paperback. Searching for some redeeming quality, I flipped through its pages for translation notes and illustrations. Nada and forget it. (I’d rather watch the eight-hour movie with subtitles.)

Breathing deeply, closing my eyes, I realized that I may not find religion. I exhaled. Opening my eyes, I met Buddha. Realizing there was plenty more to consider, I chose to walk away with the Dalai Lama.

Hearing bells, I thought I found enlightenment. But it was only my husband calling. He was waiting on me to go golfing. My inner peace dissolved. Darn.

Glancing at my watch, I figured I could take a few more minutes for myself before rushing home. I passed the remaining sections of classical literature and headed straight for the section that feeds my more base pleasures—horror.

As it turns out, this section truly was a horror. Authors were out of alphabetical order. Genres co-mingled with mysteries and romance.  Seeking favorite authors and storylines, I searched high and low.  Looking for ghastly covers over southern belles was driving me crazy. Who should I look for first? A favorite author or character? A tawdry thriller I would never pay for at full price? I couldn’t focus. On top of it all, I was now in a rush to get home.

Spinning from shelf to shelf, my eyes twitched, and my vision clouded. Breathing faster and feeling desperate, I stopped.  I realized that I was going to get myself in trouble and buy the wrong book, meet the wrong character, even make a bad decision. I decided to leave before getting into trouble.

Perhaps I will finish my search from my e-reader?

Monday, August 22, 2011. Today’s post was inspired by a visit to my local Borders bookstore. I doodled the image on my iPad using Artrage. ©2011 Steph Abbott All rights reserved.

Going Out of Business: A visit to the bookstore.

Everything Must Go

Economic forecasters say that bookstores are on the decline. The rise of the e-reader is taking over the market providing efficiency, convenience and direct access to millions of titles. Have the brick and mortar stores lost touch with the customers? What were they buying that isn’t selling?

I decided to log off and jump in the car to see for myself.

Walking into the big box bookstore, my eyes landed on a display table. It looked like the standard fare—hardcover books and paperbacks. New releases and publisher retreads. Books in a bookstore. What was going wrong?

Lifting my eyes, I saw about twenty of these tables. Some layered with books. Most layered with candles, fleece blankets, glass beads, headphones, and greeting cards. Huh?

Wandering past the tables, the rest of the store spread out like a discounters dream. There were a myriad of kiosks, bins, shelves, and wall hangers all covered with a myriad of items. I found pencil cases, markers, journals, maps, backpacks, ladies purses, and even Christmas ornaments.

Strolling to the back of the store, I found myself surrounded by DVDs, posters, games, toys, wooden puzzles, and Lego building kits. Where were the books?

Finally, looking back, past the potpourri, my eyes finally glimpsed the last half of the store. The section with books. Several shelves looked ransacked, some untouched. Like the rest of store items, they were marked 40% off retail price.

The store was going out of business.

Sunday, August 21, 2011. Today’s post was inspired by a visit to my local Borders bookstore. I doodled the image using Illustrator. ©2011. Steph Abbott. All rights reserved.