For as long as I can remember, I’ve always loved bookstores. Sometimes when my dad came to visit me as a child, we would go to the Barnes & Noble in Little Rock and spend hours there. We had nowhere to be, and were content to spend an afternoon lost in another world. Sometimes we would sit together at the little table and chairs in the children’s section and he would read stores to me, and sometimes we would pick out books to read on our own before retiring to the comfortable, overstuffed armchairs hidden in nooks and crannies of the big bookstore. It was great, but I’ve come to realize that while that was something I used to love doing, it’s not something I’ve done in a very long time. I can still spend a good amount of time in the bookstore, but all of that time is spent browsing, not sitting around reading or just observing what is going on around me, because as an adult, that goes against most everything else I am programmed to do. We’re taught to be efficient, not idle or wasting time, so if you’re in the bookstore, you should be making the most of that time, looking for books to purchase, not just sitting in a comfortable chair being content with your life at that very moment, but today I went to Barnes & Noble, and decided to change that.
My brothers and I went to the bookstore this morning because they were in town visiting, and we were looking for something to do, and since it was very cold outside and we all love books, so we decided Barnes & Noble was the place to be. Upon entering we all split off, I towards the new releases just to the left of the entrance and my brothers to I don’t know because I wasn’t with them. I browsed for a while, falling into my regular routine of finding interesting books and taking pictures of them so I could search for cheaper copies later online. I’m the reason bookstores keep closing. After a while, out of the corner of my eye, I noticed that one of the big comfortable chairs over in front of the windows was vacant, and as if being pulled by some outside force, I found myself being drawn in towards the chair. I sat down and was immediately engulfed in comfort, instantly taken back to a simpler time. I didn’t grab anything to read, because once I saw that the seat was open, I knew that I had to make my move immediately since those seats are a coveted luxury at the bookstore, and taking time to find a book would cause me to miss my opportunity.
There were people in the chairs on either side of me, both with books that they weren’t really reading. Despite the fact that they had something to read, that they themselves had selected from the thousands of books in the store, both people were completely immersed in the cell phones they were holding. It seemed a little sad, because while cell phones have completely changed our lives, mostly for the better, they distract us from the little things that we used to love. I spent years sitting in chairs at the bookstore without having to have a phone in my hand, and was completely happy, but now it seems, at least from my observations, that people are no longer content just to read. I fantasized about a life where I could come to the bookstore every day. I could come first thing in the morning and get a cup of coffee and a croissant for breakfast, then find a book that interested me before retiring to my corner to read the day away. It sounds nice, but then again would it become too routine, the daily monotony of it all, making me grow to loathe it? I really don’t know, but I’m not going to be in danger of that anytime soon because I have a real job to go to, but maybe one day I’ll be able to try a new way of living, where the bookstore is the focal point of my day. There’s so much to learn, so much to read. Until then, I’ll make an effort to go back every once and a while and spend some time sitting in a big, comfortable chair, lost in a book, just enjoying life.