Ohhhh, Borders. Say it aint so. Say it aint so, Buddy. You’re closing? Really and for truly? Heart. Broken.
I heard grumblings on the Twitter about Borders closing all their stores. I saw a blurb about it in the newspaper. I even got an email from the CEO of Borders, Mike Edwards, titled, “A Fond Farewell” and yet I still didn’t think it was true. When the dreamy Brian Williams from NBC Nightly News ran a story about it, however, well, damn it, then I had to believe.
I’m crushed. I’m devastated. In my little ‘burb I don’t have a Barnes and Noble, I have a Borders. Had a Borders. Within a 3-minute driving distance, even. I know some of you callous readers are saying, “big whoop, I’m done with this post, it’s just a book store for heaven’s sake.” Well, no, callous reader, you’re wrong. It was my, “happy place.”
On more than one occasion I’ve told my husband, “When I die, just stuff me and set me in the corner of Borders at a table with a book and my spirit will rest in peace.” Yes, I’m sure it probably WOULD be creepy for the other patrons but hellooo, just buy some Febreeze and spritz me occasionally. I also warned him if he put legwarmers or a NASCAR hat on me I would haunt him. I probably will anyway. AnyWHO, now even my postmortem plans have been ruined.
Over the years, Borders became more than my book store, it evolved. When my son Jakie was old enough, we’d visit the children’s section and read on the big steps. He even had his first big “fan moment” there when he got to meet one of his literary favorites come to life, Junie B. Jones. Hey! Who remembers the Stupid Smelly Bus Tour? *raises hand* I know I do.
When my daughter Katie was born and became colicky at the age of 3 months, Borders was my mini postpartum vacation destination. I could leave my bundle of crying red-faced joy at home with Dougie while I perused the shelves, sipped a steamy Seattle’s Best latte and soaked up the ME time. At Borders, no one shrieked at me, demanded a PB&J sandwich or peed on me. Well, okay, except that one time.
I don’t know why Borders failed. I was never any good at math. I just know I bear some responsibility. For years my friend, Angela has scolded me for spending so much money on books. “Dani, you know you can get most of them at the library. . . for free.” I would always reply, “ahh, yes, the library, I remember it from my elementary school days. No thanks, I’d rather buy them and keep them. Besides, the library usually smells like feet.”
Books are like my friends. I don’t always like them, but I keep them. Even when I loathe them I keep them. That’s right, I’m lookin’ at YOU, “Reliable Wife.” Wretched thing.
HOWEVER, then the day came when my children were costing me a small fortune in tiny books so we decided to take a family trip to the library. I should also note this coincided with the fact that my Dougie was laid off and we no longer had a small fortune to spend on tiny books because we had to spend it on tiny food instead. I still visited Borders for the atmosphere but my purchases dwindled.
THEN I received a Nook for my birthday. The Nook of course is sold by Barnes & Noble. Initially I was skeptical of the e-reader craze but when I discovered I could purchase my porn and self-help books at 2 AM wearing Hello Kitty pajama pants without having to face an actual clerk at the counter, well, I don’t have to tell you how much Borders stock went down that day.
I walked in to Borders tonight and it was SICK. Vultures already feasting on the carcass. Most items are only 10% off, unless you enjoy book covers with oiled pecs and then you’re in luck because the Romance section is 30% off. Books are already being strewn about with no respect for the division of literature. For God’s sake they had “Hitler’s Instrument Of Terror” next to, “The Great Book Of Bedtime stories.” Not cool, people, not cool.
Because I am ridiculous I got a little misty-eyed walking through the store knowing it would be one of the last times. I KNOW people have bigger problems which is precisely why we all need a Borders. We all need a little break from our lives now and again. I’m a lightweight drinker and I don’t do drugs. Books are my escape and Borders was my escape pod.
Thank you, Borders. For giving me hours of time to roam your aisles, read books to my babies, catch up on life with Stacie Unruh, discover new authors, scald my tongue on honey lattes and replenish my inner happy. You will be missed.