Saturday, November 15, 2014

Barnes & Noble on a Cold Houston Saturday Morning

It's long been a habit of mine to wander the aisles of one of the two Barnes & Noble stores near me for an hour or two on Saturday mornings.  So, with two discount coupons in hand, that's where I headed on this damp, cold (hey, it's 45 degrees and this is Houston, after all) morning.  As it turns out, I wasn't really in a book-buying mood, after all.

Maybe it was the sobbing woman who was guarding the front door that did it.  She started saying "sir, sir, sir" while I was way too far from her to understand the situation.  And, of course, I had to stop...or push past her, so what were the options, really?  Still crying, she started babbling about her two...later in the conversation to become at home with not enough to eat this morning.  Could I give her two dollars and some change?  Now, I'm suspicious of people who beg on the streets, have been suspicious of them for years, in fact.  But I figured it would be cheap and quicker just to give her the two bucks and wish her luck, so I did.  That's when she started to berate me for skipping the "change" part of her request...and never did she say thanks, or "God bless you" or the other usual things that I usually hear in these situations.  So that was kind of a negative "ding" before I even got inside the B&N.

Things, mood-wise, did take a big step in the right direction when I overheard a little girl of about five talking to her mother about a book she wanted to buy.  She was speaking in English and her mother responded - in Spanish - something to the effect that she should practice her Spanish sometimes when talking to her little brother or to the mother.  Keep in mind that this child has zero, absolutely zero, Spanish accent when she speaks English, so someone, somewhere, is encouraging her to speak English instead of Spanish.  Maybe it's the woman's husband, maybe it's her school...but I couldn't resist starting a conversation with the mother and encouraging her to make sure that her daughter learned both languages because of the huge advantage that will give her for the rest of her life.  We went on to have a nice, long conversation about learning new languages, the difficulties she had when she first started learning English, and how much easier it is to read a second or third language than it is to speak them (the woman speaks Spanish, English, and French).  

So that was the positive ding that should have gotten me back to my original mood...a nice wash, and a new beginning, a reset.  Didn't happen.  

So, after ninety minutes of browsing, I came home empty-handed.  Most of you, especially my wife, would say that's for the best if you saw the books already stacked up on, and around, my desk waiting to be read.  

But I'll probably try again tomorrow afternoon...TBR stacks, be damned.


  1. Sam I'm not sure my comment actually published. If it did, you can delete one of them. I wanted to tell you how happy I am that you are posting on your blog again. I missed your reviews of books, your occasional posting about your favorite music and now I can include your encounters with the general public on Saturday mornings.

    Thanks for the laugh. I read your story to my husband and we sat her giggling for a few minutes.

  2. Hi, Maxine. It's really good to be back, believe me. I really missed you guys and all the little conversations we had about books and just plain old life. I often would find myself getting excited about a book or something book-related and would realize I had no one to share the news with. Thanks for taking time to say hello this evening. I hope you guys are doing well.

  3. Sometimes even if there is nothing to upset the mood when shopping at a bookstore I will walk out empty handed because there just wasn't anything that "jumped out" at me. Doesn't happen often, but now and then.

    1. Happens to me that way every so often, too. It's more unusual for me to go in all ready to spend some money but come out empty-handed like I did on Sunday. I couldn't get that con-artist out of my mind.