I went to work yesterday for the first time in almost 3 weeks. I worked on my favourite floor, fiction (like, wow Sara, we wouldn’t have guessed that.) In the morning there were books to be shelved, customer orders to be rung through, displays to tidy and lots of customers. The customers were cool: one said how much she liked my necklace, another thanked me for “being lovely”, a professor chatted, lamenting the enormous amount of factual books he has to read, saying how he misses fiction. Time passed pleasantly enough. Then after lunch the weather became muggy and the customers became snappy. A man punched the lift door because it closed before he got there, families dragged screeching children around the store, the staff became niggly, the day dragged hotly on.
My personal pet book shop hate is when a customer will ask for a book, and in the course of our transaction will announce with some kind of pride that it is not for them as they don’t read. This is always said loudly, brightly, as if it is a cool edgy thing that they say. Personally I assume from that point on that they are a moron! I mean, by all means don’t read if you don’t wish to, I think that you’re missing out on one of the most pleasurable things this life offers, but then again I don’t listen to classical music and I know how many people get huge satisfaction from doing just that. The difference is that I don’t feel any need to walk into a classical music shop, approach the assistant and proclaim that I don’t like it.
At the end of the day a man insisted on slowly explaining his favourite stories to me despite me saying that we were closing. When I said that I’d have to hurry him as it was 6 o’ clock he became most disgruntled.
I left the store and waited at the traffic lights outside, men with cans of Tennants lager in their fists faced down drivers as they swarmed arrogantly across the road, daring the cars to move.
I got to the train and sank into my seat, tired, wanting to have some quiet reading time, but 5 children squashed themselves into and onto the luggage rack adjacent to me, and proceeded to fart and make monkey sounds all the way home.
I fantasised about resigning.