March 19th, 2020
I took a young woman to her therapy appointment yesterday. Since most everything is shut down, going there was the highlight of the day. Her session lasted for almost an hour, so I had time to kill. All the restaurants and coffee shops are closed. I had to search for a place to hang out. I thought I would go to Half-Price Books and see what was there on sale.
I got out of my car just a woman was coming out of the shop. She looked at me and said,
“Oh, I’m so sorry. The store is closed to customers because of the virus. If you want, you contact us by phone or online. We can find what you want, and then you can come to pick it up, or it can be delivered to you.”
Having only takeout or delivery defeats the purpose of a bookstore. I never know what I want when I go into a bookstore. I wander through the stacks and tables, looking at covers. I might pull a book from a shelf and page through it. I might read a synopsis of the book. Then I might put it right back. This process may be repeated a dozen times before I actually take a book up to the sales counter. If I knew exactly what book I wanted to read, I would just buy it online and be done with it. Going into the store means that I am interested in exploring. I am looking for something that is new to me.
I guess the same things goes for many of the stores I enter. There are times when I am on a mission, and I grab what I need and get the hell out. Other times, I want to roam and linger. I want to discover something. Now there is no place to do that.
Almost all the houses of worship are closed. I like to hang out in those places too. I don’t necessarily go to these locations to attend a specific liturgy. I don’t often mingle with the other people even when I am in my own church. However, it helps me to just be with others when I pray or meditate. When I am in church, or at the synagogue, or in a mosque, or at the Zen Center, it is better when I am not completely alone. Spiritual activities are by their very nature communal, even if everything is done in silence. Some people say that a person can have the same experience online. I doubt it.
I like sitting in coffee shops. Once again, being an introvert, I don’t usually want interaction. Mostly, I just want to sip a drink and observe. Just watching the people come and go is stimulating. It makes me more alert.
Now, the only outlet seems to be grocery shopping.
I wonder how long that will last.