Thursday, 6 September 2018

Book Store Blues & The President Swears Off Tweeting!


I was staying a dozen or so miles from New Haven when my laptop crashed. After a fruitless couple of hours on the phone with a technician it was mutually decided that I should visit the nearest Apple Store.

I was in a bit of a panic as I had a number of deadlines, so I arrived 40 minutes early for my appointment. No dice!  I was instructed to come back in half-an-hour.

To my delight, Yale Book Store was next door. What a break! As I was entering I realized that I hadn’t darkened such a door in a long time.

Strange, because I used to spend much time in both book and record stores; yet it all seemed so long ago.

Whenever I had nothing to do, which was often enough, I frequented a legion of such stores within walking distance of my East Village apartment.

But even the notion that I had “nothing to do” seemed very distant. I don’t know about you, but nowadays I have to write down a list of the things I MUST do for fear of my universe collapsing, and another list of things I SHOULD do before they too migrate to the cataclysmic column. 

How did my life get so busy and needlessly complicated, I wondered, as I stepped through the portals of Yale’s gleaming bookstore?

All was familiar - tables of cut-price tomes up front and in the distance great shelves of volumes awaiting my touch and appreciation.

I smiled as I picked up a new edition of Justine by Lawrence Durrell – I had bought my old battered copy thirty years ago at The Strand on Broadway; it opened a universe that I’m still exploring.

I moved on to familiar sections: poetry, biography, history, and of course, recent arrivals, for one must keep up with and support current writers.

I saw a book by a new Irish author that had been well reviewed. It was somewhat bulky and I knew in my heart that I’d never read it in hard cover; no I’d buy it later on Amazon and read it on my phone or iPad.

A wave of sadness swept over me, as happens when one realizes that an old romance is irrevocably over. When was the last time I read a hard cover – bulky or otherwise?

With a pang of guilt I had to admit that I long ago gave away my treasured collection of LPs – battered and scratched though they may have been. 

To add insult to injury I had recently been wondering if I had any more need of my CD collection. Shouldn’t I be converting all my favorites? After all, the writing now appears to be on the wall for CD players.  

Where would it all end? And then I realized that I was some minutes late for my Apple appointment. I rushed next door. 

My “genius “impatiently awaited me – smile firmly attached, but no doubt wondering if this analog miscreant was going to blow his appointment.

To make a long story short, the genius fixed my computer and explained in detail what had gone wrong. Once I realized I’d make my deadlines I blanked her out. I knew I’d never remember the helpful advice anyway.

I had other matters on my mind. To hell with deadlines! I strode back into the hallowed halls of Yale Bookstore. I picked up the voluminous Collected Stories by William Trevor then made a dash for the Classics shelves.

I knew it would be there – Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time. I had last tried to read Volume One on the riotous Black 47 tour bus back in 1994. Not a prayer - I had thrown in the towel long before we staggered into Cleveland.

Will I ever read Monsieur Proust? Probably not, but I grabbed it anyway - another foolish act of defiance? Perhaps, but even a couple of chapters might work wonders on my frazzled digitized brain!

I even made a vow while speeding out of New Haven - less deadlines and more reflection! About the same chance as the president swearing off tweeting! 

Still, stranger things have happened – or have they?

No comments:

Post a comment

We welcome short comments on Belfast Media Group blog postings but you should be aware that, since we've put our names to our articles, we encourage you to do so also. Preference in publication will be given to those who provide an authenticated full name — as is already the case in our newspapers. Comments should be short and relate to the subject matter and, of course, shouldn't be libelous. And remember, if you find that there isn't enough space on our blogs for your views, you can always start your own. There are over two million blogs out there, another one can only benefit the blogosphere.