I’m convinced I can’t make new friends at Borders

It’s impossible. In all the past year of trying, there is not much luck in actually finding someone to make a friend with at Border’s.  It’s not that there’s no people there.  Because there are.  Sometimes so many it’s hard to find a spot to sit in the cafe.

I bought my favorite coffee drink, Raspberry Mocha Kiss,  chocolate milk for my two youngest girls and rice krispie treats, and sat with them, hugged and kissed on them and watched people and talked with the girls while they did homework/read books.   They behaved really well there.

One of the coffee baristas  remembers me.  It’s so sweet that she’ll say “What can I get you, Casey” even before I say a word.  Her name is Cate.  We chat a little bit every time I’m there.  It’s nice.   She’s maybe about 18-20.  I’m a 39 year old woman with three girls.  While it’s nice to have a little chat, I think it would be too weird to befriend her.  I’ll stick with tipping her extra for remembering my name.

We were there yesterday at about 1 in the afternoon.  There was a pretty full house.  We sat along the window.    I turned so that I could look out on the cafe and took some photos with my camera phone.

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There were people there – some came alone, some came with friends or children.  But of the 20 or so people there, no one looked like they needed a new friend, or at the very least, some good conversation.

Mostly because those that were there by themselves were plugged in to their laptops and net-books or engaged in reading, or already having conversations with the company they brought with them.  The guy in the black hat next to our table was dually plugged in – to the computer and his iPod.  So nothing could interfere with his attention on his work.

It makes me wonder why people actually do go to Borders with lap-tops and iPods in the first place if they are just going to ignore people while they are there.  Why don’t they just do their work at home?  Is it that they really are afraid to be alone, but they hook up to their networks, and plug their ears up so they don’t have to really engage with others?  Is it just the free internet access that draws them to Borders?  What the hell is it?

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The person in the black hat above was a good looking fella with his laptop at the table next to us – dark hair, dark eyes, neatly trimmed facial hair, looks like he’s a member of a boy band or something (of course, he’s not, just some random student).   Occasionally I caught him look up from his laptop and I’ll quickly look over to see him looking at us.  Sometimes, I’d make a comment to him,  but he would have to pull out his earphones in order to hear.  I don’t think he minded the interruptions, but still…no real deep communication took place.

I found a book I started reading to the girls.  It was a hardcover book collection called:
The One and Only Shrek (Plus 5 Other Stories) book from William Steig which has wonderful writing.  I read some of it aloud to the girls before we had to leave to get my oldest from school.

I just love the words he chose.  Check this excerpt out:

Soon he came upon a peasant singing and scything.  “You there varlet,” said Shrek.  “Why so blithe?”

The peasant mumbled this reply:

“I’m happy scything in the rye.
I never stop to wonder why.
I’ll hone and scythe until I die.
But now I’m busy.  So goodbye.”

“Yokel,” Shrek snapped.  “what have you in that pouch of yours?”
“Just some cold pheasant.”
“Pheasant, peasant? What a pleasant present!”

Here’s another excerpt:

Fat raindrops began sizzling on Shrek’s hot knob
“Did you ever see somebody so disgusting?” said Lightening to Thunder.
“Never,” Thunder growled.  Let’s give him the works.”
Lightening fired his fiercest bolt straight at Shrek’s head.  Shrek just gobbled it, belched some smoke and grinned.  Lightning, Thunder and Rain departed.

In high spirits, Shrek stalked on.  At the edge of the woods, he found this warning nailed to a tree:

“Harken, stranger,
Shun the danger!
If you plan to stay the same,
You’d best go back from whence you came.

Shrek of course swaggered right past.

And I read most of the story to the girls, before we had to leave.  I caught a glimpse of the guy in the black hat stick his earpiece back in just as I was closing the book.  Not sure, but I think he was listening to me read the story!  Hey, at least that’s what I’d like to think!

I also found a bargain book that is thoroughly fascinating and, in part due to my own writing goals and my friendships with other writers, I am very intrigued with the semantics of language. I think this book is a great addition to my bookshelf:

The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window to Human Nature by Steven Pinker.  At my Borders, this was a $30 hardcover book for just $5.  Not bad.  It’s a very interesting read.   I bought it because I do want to study more about linguistics, and continue to improve my writing.  And I REALLY want to read the section on swear words, because I kind of have an vice with that.

So all in all, it wasn’t a bad experience at Borders. I got to hug and love on my girls, they got attention from me and some treats, and I was at least “around” other adults even if I didn’t have much meaningful conversations with anyone. Despite my conviction that I can’t make new friends at the Borders, I usually leave with something more than I had before.

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5 Responses to I’m convinced I can’t make new friends at Borders

  1. Krissy says:

    Yeah, Borders is not a place for socializing. Most people use it as a substitute for the library.

    • raisingsmartgirls says:

      Well, it seems that you are right on that one. I just feel like when I come there with my kids, when they do get a little chatty, I feel like I’m supposed to be keeping them quiet because others are working…then it becomes less fun for all of us because I’m telling them to be keep it down.

  2. Leah says:

    There are isolation/exclusion tendencies everywhere, sometimes unintentional — if you asked those people “why are you trying to shut out/ignore the other people around you that you came here to be around?”, many of them would probably say something like “gosh, I really don’t know, I never really thought about it”.

    I think the only way to have much realistic chance of finding extended conversation, much less friendship, would be if you go to events scheduled there specifically for people to have contact with each other for some reason. (Like when you went to that writers’ meetup at a bookstore a couple months ago.) Even if it’s not centered on a reason/topic close to your heart, almost any event held at a bookstore could be worthwhile trying.

  3. raisingsmartgirls says:

    Leah – I’m sure you are right on both points. I have to find some interest where people do use Borders as a meetup point.

    I think I’ll go there this week to see if they have events planned.

    And yes, you are right…that writers’ meet-up thing was pretty fun. It was nice to get together with people who did like to write.

  4. Uitvalscherm says:

    I liked reading this. I will post this on digg. I am sure you will get some thumbs up 🙂

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