Friday, December 03, 2004

In Praise of Bookstores

One of the great things about a blog is that you truly get visitors from all parts of the globe. I think I'm on safe ground in assuming, then, that many of you don't know how bad traffic in Austin truly sucks. On any given day, we have a three hour "rush hour" in the afternoons/evening, and Fridays are the worst, thanks to the fact that our main thoroughfare is the original 'Nafta Superhighway'. So I'm driving home tonight, totally stressed by the maniac in front of me who seems intent on causing an accident when there's literally nowhere to go. One of my pet peeves (ever wonder where that phrase came from? Well, wonder no more...) is the ease with which we grant driver's licenses in this country.

I could go on and on, but its not a great story, just one more frustrated driver. To jump to the point: I stopped on the way home at a bookstore to do some Christmas shopping, and it occurred to me (and not for the first time) how relaxing I find the thought of books to be. So many great books and interesting overheard conversations. Example - tonight, an older man was seated next to a teenage girl and they were earnestly talking about - I kid you not - principles, making a difference, and the meaning of life! Then I saw a book entitled "1,000 Places to See Before You Die", and, to do my best Andy Rooney imitation, it occurred to me that NO ONE is going to see all of these 1,000 places before they die, so what a depressing idea for a book (and who the hell's so morbid that they're buying it?). 10 places to see before you die, I could buy that...

So before you know it, I've forgotten all about the crappy traffic and have lost myself again in the world of words. I have hundreds of books that I'll probably never read (well, at least a hundred, anyway) and you know what? I don't care. The whole idea of books gives me a sense of security. I walked out of the store having purchased nothing and feeling wiser all the same.

No comments: