By Claire Booth
I went to a bookstore yesterday. Such an ordinary sentence. Once. Such an ordinary act. Before.
Now it was like a rock concert, a hug from a friend and dinner in a restaurant, all rolled into one. Hopefully we’ll get back to those three someday, too. For now, though, I’ll take my bookstore and be damn grateful for it.
California is slowly loosening its coronavirus restrictions, and retail businesses are now allowed to open their doors to limited numbers of people at a time. My happy place, Face in a Book bookstore in El Dorado Hills, Calif., decided on a maximum of four customers at a time. They’d been offering free local delivery for a while, which was great—but not a lot of browse-able fun. So yesterday, I was there, my masked nose pressed eagerly against the glass as I waited my turn to get in.
Once inside, two other customers and I kept our distance and soaked in everything on the shelves. Cookbooks, gardening, the new Mary Kubecka, a biography of Billy the Kid, the Hunger Games prequel, so much more. After restraining myself from actually touching every book in the store, I was rewarded by getting to talk to a friend. She works there and we were able to catch up. What would have pre-Covid been a nice chat became, now, a meaningful, wonderful conversation.
Don’t get me wrong. I’ve been places since the pandemic started. I’ve gone to the grocery store and the hardware store. I’ve gone into work a few times when I couldn’t do an office task from home. But this … this was a place I wanted to be. Those other outings were getting on with living; this was getting on with life.