I remember the first time I went into Borders. I was still in college- in Indianapolis- and Borders was on the outskirts of the city. I was in love the moment I opened up the doors and walked inside. This was no crappy mall B. Dalton...nooooo...I had just died and gone to book lovers heaven. I spent the next 2 or 3 hours just looking, touching, and smelling as many books (yes, smelling...I love love love the smell of books and the promise of a tasty read that they hold...) as I could before my father, who was picking me up for summer vacation, dragged me (literally) from the store. There were no Borders in Chicago as of yet- and I couldn't wait to go back to Indiana to get back to my new-found hangout. I was elated when Borders finally made its way here. Its selection was far superior to any other bookstore we had at the time. (Please note, that I love(d) my little neighborhood booksellers...and still do...but Borders was overwhelmingly fantastic to this bookophile....) I have spent countless hours in Borders- finding, discovering, and re-discovering new and old paper bound friends. I shrugged off the news recently that Borders had filed for Bankruptcy...so what? Until I saw the store closing signs at my neighborhood store.
Whaaaat? "Everything Must Go...20 to 40% Off..." read the signs plastered to every window, doorway and flat surface of my store. Wow. Not a good wow, just the sort of dumb-struck, wow. Jamie and I decided to take a look this weekend and see what we could get. What I got was a small case of panic and a severe case of sadness. Walking into the store, it looked more like a crime scene- with yellow caution tapes X'd over most of the bookshelves, disheveled and picked over racks and stacks of magazines, movies and music and stuffed animals thrown willy-nilly around the children's section. (I swear I saw a chalk outline of The Cat in The Hat on the floor....) It looked as though a book bomb had imploded and had blown up my Borders beyond recognition- was this really where the boys and I had laid on the floor reading Babar? Picked out new Christmas or Halloween stories? Relaxed with a cup of coffee pouring over wedding magazines? Found new friends? New treasures? New reads? Really, was this the place? People were starting to look more like vultures to me than customers...and I was one of them! I started to panic a little...it was too sad...too much...was I having problems breathing? (No, my old bra is too tight for my pregnant chest, and making it hard to breath- but it figures that it really started to bother me amidst all of the contemporary classics carnage....) I couldn't concentrate as I tried to quickly scan all of the familiar authors that were left. Some woman on her cell phone couldn't find The Lovely Bones...where was The Lovely Bones...didn't they have any copies left of The Lovely Bones...why can't I find The Lovely Bones...I finally stopped my search and fed her The Lovely Bones- not so much to be nice, but more to get her to stop talking...I really couldn't concentrate and felt like I had to rescue at least one of my favorite authors from the shame of the picked and passed over. In the end, we did find a few books to take with us. On our way out the door, I asked Jamie if he felt the same sadness that I did. His reply was less romantic than my eulogy for my lost friend and was something along the lines of, " When your prices are 20 to 40% off and you still are paying more than what you would pay at Target, or Best Buy or even Barnes & Noble, than I say farewell f*rs, you deserve to go out of business." Ahh, my sentimental sweetie. Nevertheless, that strange cloud of sadness stayed with me, thinking about another huge empty building in my neighborhood that won't be visited anymore. That, to me, is a bit of a crime. For Borders, I hope that there is another chapter out there for them, after chapter 11.