Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Bookstore Blast From The Past

It's a new semester with new classes and new professors that don't know what a bonehead procrastinator you are. You go to the bookstore with high hopes for this new start. This is the semester you're not going to rely on online summaries. You're going to use sources other than wikipedia for your scholarly articles. You're not going to spend the wee hours of the night on sites like this or this so that you can have more energy than a banana peel for your eight am class.

With this euphoria of new beginnings you enthusiastically greet someone you once knew marginally, but now know only through the info that shows up in facebook's newsfeed. After the questions that are supposed to sum up the years since you've seen each other, you casually resume your textbook hunt. But then, not one more book down your list, who should round the aisle but this relative stranger whom you so warmly greeted not one minute before. You both feign surprise at seeing each other again, as if everyone shops for their books like this guy does. Then you both ask one or two more obligatory questions with furrowed brows to make it seem like you've been burning to know the answer, but really you're just filling the dead air. Then, politely, you make sure to turn the opposite way you need to go just because it will mean you don't have to browse with an awkward silence breathing down your neck.

Going the opposite direction, you think you're safe from another increasingly bumbling conversation, but then your best friend you hardly know pops out behind the iClickers. You both insert some overdone jokes about Person A stalking Person B. Neither of you think they are funny. Both of you laugh. Then there's that awkward little pause where both of you are searching the peripheries for a polite escape:
"Ok, well I better look at staples now..."
"Yeah, staples are great..."
"See ya never--I mean later!"

Fed up with the pressure of trying to pull a friendship out of mid-air, you abandon the rest of your textbooks and just go to checkout. Within seconds you are enveloped in a maze of people snaking through the line, and who should you see? You guessed it. Now you've got to deal with a new conversation that has to be perfectly timed--too short and you'll have to just exhale loudly, too long and you'll have to shout about things you care nothing about while they snake in and out of view for the next half hour. Next year, you're buying on Amazon.


  1. Ahhhh . . . we need to make short films of these posts!

  2. The first semester back from my mish this happened to me. The kid and I had 4 common text books. The stalking joke was used. As usual, you nailed this one Al.