Today on my way home from work I received a text that stated “You might want to meet me at BN before I spend our rent.” Obviously, you can deduce who sent it to me. As Kim has begun to read more and more, I’ve come to appreciate the sights and smells of our new favorite slice of North Haven: Barnes and Noble. I thought my takes on this place would be appropriate considering Jess’s recent post on the 21st century bookstore.
First off, I’m often surprised at how quiet it is in this place. Obviously, it is a bookstore, and most people are taking their time reading the backs (or doing the best they can to finish) books instead of yapping. Maybe it’s the acoustic treatment of multiple rows of bookshelves, carpeting, and the distracting whine of the Starbucks coffee grinder, but I think it has more to do with the sudden change from the loudness and bustle of outside to the quiet of BN that makes it all the more calming to me. Yes, there still is the occasional shopper that must read the entire contents of the self-help book section to their friend at home in order to make an informed decision, but he/she is few and far between. In fact, the muted voices that seem to grow quieter as you move farther back into the store are rather calming. Probably because I find total silence sometimes oppressive and it reminds me of the days where I had to study an entire semester’s worth of chemistry in 48 hours in the library at Quinnipiac, but that could just be me.
Secondly, I am not a coffee person. I have no aversion to the coffee bean, I think it serves it’s purpose in the sleepy lives of Americans shuffling to work, but I’m not a huge fan. I appreciate the variety and dedication some people take in making and drinking it (those of you that know me know that I am becoming a self-appointed beer snob and brewer), but I’ve never felt the urge to drink it every day, unless I am in Barnes and Noble. Perhaps they are secretly sending out pheromones in the ventilation system, perhaps it is the combination of the book smell (you know what I’m talking about) and coffee that turns my brain into coffee demand mode. Regardless, a good 60% of the time I walk through the doors, I walk out with some type of coffee concoction. (No offense Starbucks, your stuff is delicious).
Thirdly, a trip to our beloved Barnes and Noble is often a good physical workout for me. I am a relatively small human, standing at 5 feet 6 inches and weighing a respectable 145-ish pounds (note: this may increase due to the beer hobby, see above). However, I am by no means muscular or “built”. Therefore, I can afford to keep my weight where it is by following Kim as she moves around the store, choosing book after book to put in our “possible pile”. Let me explain. Kim will initially select 4-5 books of which she is thinking of purchasing, which will all make their way into my open arms. As more books pile onto our “possible pile”, the workout increases. I usually top out at a solid 10-12 books, which depending on their relative weight will tax my arms after walking around with them for a good half hour. Then, we get around to sorting through said pile and pick our survivors. After the weight is lifted (literally), we go to checkout and the credit/debit card is put to good use. Pretty soon I will be able to work up to 15-20 books, and perhaps a few encyclopedias (do they even still print copies of those?) Regardless, Kim’s approach is pretty different from mine. Usually I pick a book or two to add to our pile. However, I do so with a lot of trepidation. Why? Because I am a libra. Yes, I normally don’t follow astrological signs or symbols and usually have no idea what they mean. However, I do know that libras tend to be indecisive. And holy _____ I am indecisive. Any decision with 3 of more variables takes me out. Today I was choosing between 4 different magazines about beer, and it was as if I was choosing them to live with for the rest of my life. I took each one out, read a few pages of each, weighed the pros and cons, determined the best value based on price, etc, all while Kim had moved to the checkout 2 years before I finished. Extreme? Well, I may have used some hyperbole here, but I do admire Kim’s ability to make quick and informed decisions. She is much better in that department.
So, there you have it! A typical trip to good ol B and N for yours truly and my lovely wife. If you’d like to tag along on our next adventure, feel free to let us know! Until next time, happy reading!