November 8, 2004

The post-election transformation of the front tables at Borders.

For a long time, I used to stop by Borders nearly every day and look around, usually get some coffee, and often buy books and magazines. Then I stopped going. I just didn't feel like being there. I speculated I'd lost interest in going there because it was it was a drag seeing all the front tables loaded with Bush-bashing books. They hardly seemed like books at all, more like thick rectangles around which a crude political cartoon had been wrapped.

Back when I enjoyed going to Borders, the front tables were full of a variety of books, making it fun to see what was new, what cover would draw my eyes in and cause me to pick up a book and read a few paragraphs. Yesterday, I finally went back, and the front tables had returned to their old form. I noticed a forlorn display in the back with lots anti-Bush materials. Who would buy a DVD of "Going Upriver" now? I stared at the display for a while, and then a woman started standing next to me, staring at it too, and I had the eerie feeling that she felt that she was sharing a moment of silent grief with me. It seemed something like going to a funeral where you're standing by the casket thinking unfunereal thoughts -- how long do I have to stay? where can I get some lunch? he really was a bit of a bastard, wasn't he? -- and then a close family member steps up beside you to commune with the deceased. You really don't much want to stand there anymore, do you? I walked away.

In any event, today I returned to Borders, stayed for coffee, and even bought a couple things. The old habit of haunting the bookstore springs back to life.

UPDATE: Glenn Reynolds noticed something similar at his Borders. Re that photograph: I saw "The Disorderly Orderly" when it came it out (the year Goldwater lost his bid for the presidency), and thought it was, by far, the funniest thing I'd ever seen. If you're a fan of the old TV show "Bewitched," you should see "The Disorderly Orderly," because there's a hilarious character in it named Miss Fuzzibee who is played by Alice Pearce, that impossibly homely actress who played Mrs. Kravitz in "Bewitched."

And while I'm updating, let me link back to this post of mine, from back in March:
I was browsing at the front display table at Borders last night, when an old woman, for some reason, started talking to me about how bad it is that there are so many books attacking Bush. I told her not to worry, that no one who didn't already oppose Bush would read a book like that, so it didn't matter. Maybe I specialize in reassuring old ladies, because I also went so far as to assure her that Bush was going to win and he was going to win by a lot.
I'm relieved to see that I did not falsely reassure the old woman.

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