So there I was.
Flouncing in the local huge chainstore-who-shall-remain-nameless-lest-I-get-sued Bookstore that had a MILLION books in it, needing a cool place to hang, a cup of mocha caffeine and a story. They pop up everywhere I go.
"What's the camera for, ma'am?"
The smark-aleck snarky side of my brain wanted to say. "Taking pictures.....(as in DUUUH!)" but judging from the look on his too-cute-for-his-own-good-face, I refrained and said,
(You saw that coming didn't you.)
"What are the pictures for?
And then I thought. How. Dare. You. Ask.
Really. Are you the Camera Police? The Nazi Camera Absconder? My mother?
You don't want me taking pictures in your store, fine. Just ask me to stop - once - politely - and I'll stop and I'll do it politely - but don't ask me about my personal camera around my personal neck on my personal body about my personal intentions and really you need to get out of my personal space.
Is it illegal to take pictures in this bookstore? I asked. I looked around for a sign.
We've had to ask people to leave with their cameras before.
But is it illlllleeeeegal to take pictures in this bookstore?
"It's a copyright issue."
"We've had to ask people to leave with their cameras before."
Oh, I intended to leave. I intended to stop taking pictures, but he was gonna give me one dandy of a good reason.
We're not talking espionage here people, I wore it like a jewelry piece. At the ready. I'd just come from the Carnival in town (another story for another day) and still dangled the apparatus around my neck. It needed batteries. I needed a drink of something cool and yummy to escape the parking lot Carnival heat.
Now my mind is spinning. And I am perturbed. I had to assume he thought I was from the newspaper and I suppose I could have, maybe even should have, pretended I was, but that would have led through a string of lie after lie after lie so I passed. For a minute I thought he was going to call the mall police. But that really wasn't even my concern. I felt that MY privacy had been invaded and I was mad at myself for not being the smart-ass I wanted to be while he politely interrogated me standing by the Sexuality/Relationship shelf.
Glad you asked.
That's how I got in this mess.
The Sexuality shelf was EMPTY of all but six books. The Relationship shelf, next to it, was brimming full of topics such as How To Keep The Man You Love, How To Love The Man You Keep, How To Salvage Your Stinking Sinking Marriage and Men Don't Really Think With Their Zippers: Fairytales and Other Fantasies. (I just made that up) It was fascinating! No no no......not the heartbreak books, the empty shelf you see. Clearly, it was a Freudian slip of epic Bookstore proportions. Did I tell you I have a keen reporter's eye? I knew I had to tell that story.
So I snapped.
The Empty Shelf (which I can't show you lest I get sued) and the Full Shelf (which I can't show you lest I get sued) Left. Right. Under. Over. Slanted. Angled. Focused. Cropped. Flash. Snap.
Symbols of life. Juxtaposition. A perfect illustration of the story in my mind. I did not want the inside of the book. I was not there to copyright the pages for a research paper. That's what libraries are for. I did not want to photograph pages of a book so that I didn't have to buy it. I just wanted to bring back to you, my bloggy friends, a visual of my day. I am documenting. I am journalling. You know this to be true. The inside of the store. The restaurant. The dressing room. The car. The coffee shop. The trees. And today: The empty shelf. Begging the question......WHERE, oh WHERE, are all the sex books? And why, oh why, are people in this testosterone-forsaken town completely uninterested in relationship saving? Hmmmm?
And that's when he accosted me.
"What kind of stories?" he asked.
And then I realized that MY picture was being taken. But of course. Just above my pencil head in the ceiling. A security camera. They are everywhere. So let me get this straight. It is OK for YOU to take pictures of ME and every teensy weensy move I make from the moment I get within 500 yards of the door of your store and even probably in the sacred bathroom, but it is not OK for me to take pictures of YOU.
I said, "No problem!" and walked to the back of the store to browse. And everything would have been just fine and dandy if I hadn't made a sharp turn past the Woodworking Crafts to escape the Hello Kitty aisle. And then I saw it.
The book on Castles. A huge coffee table book with beautiful sea strewn palaces from all over the world. I had to look at it. Smell it. Touch it. I saw my freshly manicured hand turn the pages. And bless my socks if my camera didn't accidentally go off while I flipped the page. Oh. Yes. And the flash, too. It was an accident! I swear!
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