As y’all know, one of my very favorite leisuretime activities is to go to Barnes & Noble, get a cup of coffee, and browse. And sometimes blog — it’s one of my favorite remote locations for that.
I’ve done this in lots of Barnes & Nobles — such as in Memphis; Myrtle Beach; New York; Florence (SC); Charleston; Harrisonburg, Va.; Camp Hill, PA — but my favorite, my essential, my default, has always been the one in Harbison.
I wrote one of my favorite early blog posts, headlined, “The Caffeine Also Rises,” at a Barnes & Noble. An excerpt from that over-stimulated ramble in 2005:
This is blogging. This is the true blogging, el blogando verdadero, con afición, the kind a man wants if he is a man. The kind that Jake and Lady Brett might have done, if they’d had wi-fi hotspots in the Montparnasse.
What brings this on is that I am writing standing up, Hemingway-style, at the counter in a cafe. But there is nothing romantic about this, which the old man would appreciate. Sort of. This isn’t his kind of cafe. It’s not a cafe he could ever have dreamed of. It’s a Starbucks in the middle of a Barnes and Noble (sorry, Rhett, but I’m out of town today, and there’s noHappy Bookseller here). About the one good and true thing that can be said in favor of being in this place at this time is that there is basically no chance of running into Gertrude Steinhere. Or Alice, either.
I’m standing because there are no electrical outlets near the tables, just here at the counter. And trying to sit on one of these high stools and type kills my shoulders. No, it’s not my wound from the Great War, just middle age….
There’s nothing like writing under the influence of your first, or second, coffee of the day. Especially back then, before I had built up resistance.
The one at Richland Fashion Mall (or whatever it’s called now) is OK in a pinch, but not the same. Maybe it’s that there’s no video and music department; I don’t know — but I’ve never been inclined to spend much time there.
Anyway, you get the picture. So you can imagine how dismayed I am at this:
By KRISTY EPPLEY RUPON — firstname.lastname@example.org
COLUMBIA, SC — Barnes and Noble on Harbison Boulevard will close at the end of the year, leaving the Irmo area without a traditional bookstore selling new books.
A manager answering the phone at the store Monday morning said she could not give details to the media. Efforts to reach a spokesperson Monday morning were not successful.
However, employees are telling customers that the store at 278-A Harbison Blvd. will close at the end of the year because its lease is not being renewed….
If I were a guy whose favorite recreation was jogging in the park, and the park got paved over, I couldn’t be more upset.
This is just wrong.
Maybe I should have bought something now and then when I was there browsing. Or maybe I shouldn’t have fallen into the habit of buying my coffee at the actual Starbucks across the parking lot before entering the store.
But surely I’m exaggerating the impact of my own behavior — right?