Monday, August 28, 2006

Barnes & Noble

It seems everyone likes to go out to Barnes and Noble to sit and chat. I hear part of the bargain (arrangement, covenant, deal) is to buy and sip overpriced coffee. Do they have hot chocolate?

Recently I've been wondering about free indoor places to get together with friends. This is mainly because we have cats at my house and I have managed to befriend every allergic girl in the state. So if I want to get together with them, I either beg my way into an invitation to their house (which they have been very gracious to extend), beg them to suffer the sneezes and asthma-like symptoms by coming to my house, or arrange to meet them elsewhere. The elsewhere is usually a movie (of which there are precious few) or a restaurant (which will cost you an arm and a leg and which is necessarily regulated by normal meal hours).

My favorite get out and sit place is the library. I haven't done it in a long time (thanks to a delightfully busy summer). There is even a whole area of tables and a smoothie shop at my library. Old rules are hard to get over, however, and I cannot reconcile conversing in the library.

An all time favorite activity is thrift store shopping. I can do it for hours. Whether the fact is that I haven't found anyone else with my enduring passion for the pastime or I simply like time to think to myself, I like shopping alone. I go down aisles twice. My cart gets loaded and unloaded. Weird and interesting objects get closely examined without me worrying what people will think of me for looking at that. (I'm worried enough as it is that people might discover my fingerprints on things. As if people fingerprint thrift store inventory!)

The final favorite thing to do, one most conducive to talking, is driving. Like the sailors to the ocean, I am drawn to the adventure of an unexplored road. I drive through neighborhoods, challenging myself to escape from them still headed in the general direction of my destination. There is a road by our house that extends out into the country for miles. I've only ever gone as far as the pavement. But where does it lead when it is just a dirt road? I want to know. When I am really distressed and thrift stores are either closed or unsatisfactory, I get the inclination to hop in my car and drive as far as I can without stopping.
Cars provide the perfect amount of comfort, purpose, and privacy to encourage conversation. There is something about things said in a car that seems unreal, the same feeling as using a debit card instead of counting out cash. So one is more willing to be vulnerable. I am, anyway.

However, gas is expensive and the police don't like me chatting in my car on the side of the road (long story). So I have been searching for another option. Is Barnes & Noble the way to go? Just how overpriced is their coffee? How late are they open? Do they mind me talking?

Whether or not Barnes & Noble is an ideal place for a chat, it has a certain coziness that reminds me of movies. Like a coffee shop, I get images of big cities like New York and Chicago in fall. Think You've Got Mail. Except with cooler wardrobes. There is the pungent, earthy smell of coffee. The enchanting aroma of books. Dark wood shelves and paneling and bright but focused lighting. It makes me want to write a story about a place like that.

For tonight, I will simply write about it to you.
To God be all glory.


Lala said...

The Barnes & Noble I sometimes go to (which is connected to a Starbucks and has precisely that cozy setting you described) is open 24/7. At least the coffee-shop area is--I think they close the doors to the actual bookstore during the night. The only problem of a joint that operates around the clock is that the employees never come up to me and say, "Excuse me, miss? It's 2:30am. Go home, little girl!" This lack of booting me--the customer--out at a remotely decent hour has proven to be a slight problem on one or two occassions. But if you ever want to talk and hang out indefinitely, knowing you won't get kicked out no matter how many sunrises in a row you watch from your little table, that would be the spot.


P.S. Yes, their coffee is over priced, yes they have hot-chocolate (what do you think I ever order?), no they don't mind you talking, and hey, you don't even have to buy anything before you sit and chat.

åslaug said...

Oh, I liked this post =)

At the moment my prayer is more like friends to talk to, than place to talk to friends... But oh, I really liked this post!