We received a nice rainy day last week, which is typical of October in SoCal (of course, we are having 95 degree Santa Ana winds this week – also typical much to my chagrin). I was at work, watching the rain pelt the windows of my second-floor Marketing Department. Talk of grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup went around between me and my manager, Heather (awesome human being, BTW). Then it hit me. I used to visit Crown Books on rainy days and sit on their floor, reading books.
The discount book retailer went out of business long before the advent of Amazon and Kindle, but I recall it as a sanctuary for days that brought rain and an insane appetite for reading whatever was available.
You could always find me either in the Biography section or Self-Help. In college, I’d stumbled away from fiction and toward the nonfic world, preferring to find myself and who I was in books about real stuff, rather than the fantasy that is a made-up story. Such a shame, really, but I like to think I opened up to who I was on the ugly blue rug of Crown Books in San Juan Capistrano (crapistrano for those of us who know that the swallows come back to the Mission every year and create a poopy nightmare in haciendas across the land).
Crown Books didn’t have any chairs like you would find at Barnes and Noble (and the now sadly defunct Borders Books). They were cutting book prices enough as it was – how could they afford nice leather chairs and a bistro for the customers? The thought never occurred to me at the time. I did know, though, that I wanted to work at Crown Books and knew the manager and assistant manager. I applied at least twice and even though my butt left an imprint in more than one section of that store, I never received a job offer. I don’t care.
When you get down to it, my happiness was found in just being in the book store on a rainy day. And I miss that.