I've found an interesting phenomenon at Booth and Noble as of late:
it has been incredibly quiet.
I don't know if it's because a giant, new Booth and Noble moved in just a few minutes drive away - and people seem to like to drive an extra 30 minutes in order to enjoy a greater selection of books that they won't - or can't - actually read.
Perhaps it's because of the recent downturn in the economy, and people no longer wish to buy books.
(Actually, since most of our customers use Booth and Noble like a library/prostitute, this probably isn't the reason).
Maybe it's because people can no longer read. It would certainly explain why I have to tell people that the large sign that says "RESTROOM" is actually a "RESTROOM."
Whatever the reason, I do think that there are fewer people hauling their bulk around Booth and Noble, and although in theory this doesn't sound bad, in actuality it is quite disturbing.
Because the ones who do flop around the store and the determined, the needy, the horrific - the unwashed masses.
For instance, the other day in Booth and Noble's music department, an unwashed comes up to me. He says, "do you have any CDs of rain?"
I try to not stare at his tooth.
His one tooth.
"Rain? Sure, we have some sound effects CDs."
Then he starts: You know how in Return to Oz, the movie with the scary Wheelies, Tick-Tock the robot gets wound up and then moves in hyperspeed for awhile, until he settles down? This is what Unwashed did. He just started talking faster...and faster...and faster...
"You know why I want this CD?" [no pause for me to answer] "I've been listening to ocean sounds back and forth and back and forth and back and forth and back and I found that I CAN'T SLEEP THROUGH IT anymore." [oh yeah, and his voice modulates up and down, louder and softer too]. "So I thought I'd get some rain sounds because it reminds me of Nam and when I was there I could sleep through the rain no problem so I'm sure I can sleep through this..." [meanwhile, I've given him the CD and he has indicated that we should return to the cash register]. "So I said to my wife that I'd get a rain CD and here it is and it's only 10 dollars, that's a great deal for rain."
"Yup," I say.
"Anyway, do you know my Mom died when I was just a kid and now I watch Abbott and Costello and think about her do you have any new Abbott and Costello?"
I check the computer.
"No, nothing new," I say.
"It really made me sad when I saw Costello die on screen" [at this point, I'm like 'WHA???'] but I got through it because it was also so funny. It was a lot like Star Trek.
"WHA?" I think I actually verbalized it without the 'T' because I was so shocked.
"You know in Star Trek when the Enterprise got destroyed and I looked at it and I thought 'That's my childhood and it's going up in flames and its gone forever!' man, that was a good movie. I love Christopher Lloyd. Anyway, bye."
And he turns and walks into the sunset. I'm sure he's still talking somewhere, to someone...