metrocentric: (Default)
[personal profile] metrocentric
Perhaps this is a characteristic of buying books in London, or perhaps a characteristic of me, but the moment of exchange - the money for the book across the counter - has rarely been accompanied by discussion.

I remember the last anomaly before recent times: I was purchasing a large format tome explaining how to use 'Windows ME', and Terry Eagleton's "Literary Theory: An Introduction''. I agreed with the employee that if neither volume were helpful on their stated subjects, I should simply swap them around: the literary critic helping me work my pc, the low-tech consumer manual offering insights into theme and structure in the written narrative. It was a rewarding interaction.

Since then, many years had passed until the next exchange, but from a certain point, I don't know why, they come thick and fast - the most recent last week.

First. The cashier lights up at sight of the cover, and asks me if I've read the author's other novel - she had and considered it excellent. I say I haven't, but that I'd seen one of her films. Now we both look confused, because I didn't think she had published a novel in addition to that now before us, and the cashier appears puzzled at suggestion the writer made movies. With a queue behind me we leave it at that, but it's an unsatisfying moment, I expect for both of us.

Second. The cashier clouds over, in fact becomes stormy, at the sight of the cover, and mutters more to the counter than to me: 'Hateful book'. I feel I should respond, if only to acknowledge her remark: I ask 'What didn't you like about it?' To which she spits in response: 'I haven't read it!'. As if I had accused her of the same sin I am clearly about to commit. As she gives me my change she has the irritably breathless demeanour of someone who has just needlessly run up a long flight of stairs, and is now in the presence of the inventor of steps. So I did not seek to prolong the encounter.

Third. The cashier beams at the four books, then at me, and exclaims: 'All women writers!'. She does so in a tone normally accompanied by delivery of a pat on the head, or a biscuit, or both. I consider expressing mild surprise at this commonality in my purchases, but conclude I cannot do so convincingly. Instead I seek refuge in my blandest smile. Esprit d'escalier supplies me with me with variously (in)appropriate responses all the way home, and intermittently since.

I should be more positive about this outbreak of lively point-of-sale discourse. After all, what are books but communication itself? A stimulating, positive discussion could have followed each of the above exchanges. But it didn't, and if it carries on like this I will end up reduced to mail order.
From:
Anonymous( )Anonymous This account has disabled anonymous posting.
OpenID( )OpenID You can comment on this post while signed in with an account from many other sites, once you have confirmed your email address. Sign in using OpenID.
User
Account name:
Password:
If you don't have an account you can create one now.
Subject:
HTML doesn't work in the subject.

Message:

 
Notice: This account is set to log the IP addresses of everyone who comments.
Links will be displayed as unclickable URLs to help prevent spam.

Profile

metrocentric: (Default)
metrocentric

September 2017

S M T W T F S
     12
3456789
1011 1213141516
171819 20212223
24252627282930

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Sep. 24th, 2017 01:12 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios