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Chillin' at the Barnes & Noble

Updated on June 26, 2013
View in Front of Me
View in Front of Me | Source
A markerBarnes & Noble -
Suite 700 1321 N. Columbia Center Blvd. Kennewick, WA 99336
get directions

Are bookstores going the way of the dinosaurs?

I certainly hope not.

I mean, where else can I hang out and do my thing (daydreaming and writing) while my wife and daughter cruise the nearby thrift stores?

No offense to my beloved women, but after shopping with them for five minutes, I'm falling asleep while standing. Sometimes, torturous as it is, I am mandated to accompany them, and then I make sure I have a cart I can lean on while pretending I'm doing something useful. Inevitably, shopping narcolepsy hits me, and my embarrassed daughter has to kick me in the calf before my unintentional yet hearty snoring reaches a crescendo.

So, regardless of the powerful influx of Nook, Kindle, iPad, and other reading devices, give me the smell, the feel, the opening page anticipation, and the user-friendly love you even though you're high tech-retarded familiarity of an old-fashioned book. Better yet, banish me to a bookstore, and I will easily get lost for hours in that voluminous jungle. Yes, I admit it--I'm definitely fetishy about words on paper.

On this particular Sunday, then, on the downhill side of a busy weekend, my wife and daughter--now well trained in the drill of dropping me off before my passive-aggressive reluctance to shop becomes a huge downer for them--patiently wait as I remove my backpack from the backseat of our Ford Fusion and exchange pleasant Byes! with them.

Inside, I'm burstin' at the seams, not unlike the 17-year-old (oh, was it that long ago?) whose single mom struggling to take care of six kids has reluctantly consented to letting him use her car to take his girlfriend out.

Let's face it. Freedom is a precious commodity for a man no matter how old he is.

I'll tolerate my better half telling me what to eat, what shirt or shorts I shouldn't be caught alive walking around in public with, or what television programs I can't watch...after all, marital diplomacy requires a certain amount of compromise (aka identity surrender). As long as I get to have my own personal space and my own personal time--and I'm finding that I require more and more of both as I get older--I'm as content as our family cat, Kona, after I've laced his chicken or turkey pellets with freshly sliced chunks of cantaloupe.

I walk into Barnes & Noble like a JFK-era kid walking into a slot-car racing store. My engines are revved up and purring as my internal GPS seeks out a seat that has an electrical outlet next to it.

Walking around the Starbucks cafe area (a common feature in most, if not all, Barnes & Noble bookstores), I observe that all the seats and outlets are being used.

So then my next course of action is to find a lounge chair next to a support column that has a plug-in.

SCORE!

Right in the middle of the store is a seat that has just been abandoned. I quickly move in and claim squatter's rights just before three little kids come squealing by. With surgical precision, I unzip my backpack, remove my two pairs of glasses (as I approach 60 years of age, I gotta have two or three pairs of glasses for different visual requirements), untangle my laptop cable, and swiftly plug it into the outlet.

Plopping down into a very comfy chair, I casually scan my immediate surroundings.

In front of me (see photo above) is a spin stand holding several computer games targeting kids and young adults.

View to My Left
View to My Left

To my left are shelves of puzzles and contemporary versions of familiar board games as well as some I have never heard of before. This particular area has a lot of traffic on this particular Sunday. As an eBay seller and affiliate marketer, I mentally Rolodex this significant bit of information.

Writing has honed my powers of observation to the point where I look at people and objects from the dual perspectives of literal research and figurative musing.

My sojourn on a chair in the middle of the bookstore gives me ample opportunity to do both.

View to My Right
View to My Right

To my right, I notice a stand of Planners & Agendas (I guess the bookstore personnel don't note or care about the double plural) as well as another stand consisting of, interestingly enough, Scrabble Cooking games.

Nestling into both the comfort of the chair and the comfort of my routine, I clear the inboxes of my various email accounts, check the progress of my eBay auctions, view my PayPal account, log onto Facebook, send off a few business as well as personal tweets, and work on my writing projects.

There is a constant flow of shoppers passing through the store this day. This was heartwarming to me because I'm pulling for books, bookstores, and libraries to never end up in a Fahrenheit 451 bonfire inadvertently ignited by high tech Kindle-ing. (Sorry. I couldn't resist this oh, so appropriate pun.)

Don't get me wrong. I love the new electronics! But I will always have a nostalgic passion for old-fashioned books. Both are capable of co-existing on the same planet. Both are integral for the advancement of the human race.

***Whether you agree or disagree, I invite any and all of your comments.***

The hours rapidly pass, and soon I get a call from my daughter letting me know that they are on their way to pick me up.

All in all, it was a productive and relaxing afternoon at the Columbia Center Barnes & Noble today.

The sweetest part of it was that I emerged from the store with my life batteries recharged and my sense of wellness with the world reinforced.

If you're ever in the Tri-Cities area in southeast Washington state, drop into this bookstore and make yourself comfortable.

Comfort is a selling point that's abundant in this business venture.

Let's Go Watch The Lone Ranger!
Let's Go Watch The Lone Ranger!

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  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
    Author

    Hawaiian Odysseus 4 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    Hey, Liz!

    Thank you very much for stopping by and sharing in this hub experience. I only just now came upon this because I have been swamped all day with eBay business...but that's a good thing! It's kinda like people are returning from vacation and are confident about going shopping again.

    I can see you chillin' at your favorite bookstore...and maybe one of those outfits that hosts a coffee shop. I'd love to talk to fellow writers about "the craft" in one of those bookstore settings.

    Maybe one of these days...I believe in the Law of Attraction. It could happen. It will happen. It already happened. Ha-ha! I'm getting a bit rummy in these wee hours of the morning. I better hit the hay! "Talk" to you again real soon, my friend! Aloha!

    Joe

  • epbooks profile image

    Elizabeth Parker 4 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

    Joe,Funny enough I hate shopping as well. Believe it or not! LOL Regarding books, I can spend hours in a bookstore. When I made the switch from traditional books to kindle, I was kind of against it. Then, I fell in love with my kindle, however, I never fell out of love with books. I still treat myself to a "Real" book every now and then and if I happen to be at a bookstore, well, sometimes, I treat myself to a few real books.

    Love this hub and your style of writing. Very entertaining!

    Liz

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
    Author

    Hawaiian Odysseus 4 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    Thank you, Deborah, for sharing in this hub experience. My sister graduated from a small college in central Iowa many years ago. Coming from the islands, I was surprised that she loved her locale in your state despite being landlocked. : ) I could be landlocked in Barnes and Noble for hours. The energy of a coffee shop in close proximity to books is a vibe I'm definitely in sync with. I am so happy to make your acquaintance, Deborah! Aloha, my new friend!

    Joe

  • DeborahNeyens profile image

    Deborah Neyens 4 years ago from Iowa

    My husband and I used to go to Barnes and Noble every Saturday morning when it was the only place in town to get Starbucks. I still love going there and sitting amidst the books. I'm with you; I hope it never dies!

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
    Author

    Hawaiian Odysseus 4 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    Thanks, Rajan. I agree with you 100%! There's also the one-of-a-kind feeling, sometimes happy, sometimes sad, sometimes yearning for more, etc., when you read the last page, sigh, and close the book. The very act of closing the book is symbolic of saying goodbye to a dear literary friend. Thanks for your wonderful thoughts and your presence at my hub site, my friend! Aloha!

    Joe

  • rajan jolly profile image

    Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

    I prefer books anytime over the ebook. The fresh smell, rather aroma, emanating from the just opened freshly printed book is intoxicating. Nothing can beat the joy of reading from a book.

    Enjoyed your sojourn at Barnes & Noble. I just wish they do not go the way of the dinosaurs.

    Voted up and intersting.

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
    Author

    Hawaiian Odysseus 4 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    I raise the white flag of concession...and, boy, does that ever rejuvenate the heck out of me! LIBERATION! I learned a lot, even if I did fail. But I'm through kicking myself...now if I only had a dog. Nah, just kidding! Sometimes I think that without the pressure of a Challenge...ironically...I might just write more. Actually, though, I had been putting this Challenge ahead of too many things. Next time, it will come after my walk, my eBay work. time with family, etc. Live and learn, right? Thanks, Flower Girl! Have a great week ahead!

    Joe

  • tillsontitan profile image

    Mary Craig 4 years ago from New York

    Flowers in my hair....flowers everywhere my friend. I hope your weekend hasn't worn you out!

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
    Author

    Hawaiian Odysseus 4 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    Hi, Christy! I agree wholeheartedly. While I gravitate towards the business and sometimes the real estate sections, I enjoy checking out the other categories as well. Borders toppled, so I was initially concerned about Barnes and Noble, but I think the latter came up with a brilliant strategy and began offering a potpourri of entertainment as well as enhanced the reading and coffee shop combination. Instead of competing with the Internet, they harnessed it. So their stock is healthy for the time being. Thanks for stopping by, Christy, and sharing your ever perceptive and connective comments. Aloha!

    Joe

  • ChristyWrites profile image

    Christy Birmingham 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

    I enjoyed taking a walk with you through the bookstore, Joe! I think there will always be a place for paper books in addition to e-books. I just love looking through bookstores and seeing what is new, as well as scanning all of the different genres - so much great stuff out there to read! :)

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
    Author

    Hawaiian Odysseus 4 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    Ah, Mary, thank you for your loyal (and, yes, royal) attendance at my hubs. I'm currently fixated on the mini-challenge of writing five hubs each on back to back days this weekend. And, yes, it's the weekend when a fellah should be doing a lot more fun things than sitting on his butt trying to write five hubs a day. I need a shot of whatever elixir billybuc's drinking, even if it's placebo vanilla mocha latte! Ah, why do I do this to myself?

    Oh, sorry, Mary...I forgot you were still here. Shoot! Where are my manners? And look at you! You wore your tie dyed shirt and corduroy bell bottom pants with the huge peace symbol buckle! And flowers in your hair! Man, we're off to San Francisco! Alohahahaha!

    Joe

  • tillsontitan profile image

    Mary Craig 4 years ago from New York

    Nothing will ever replace a good book. How can you have a page turner on your iPad? (Loved your Kindle pun btw.)

    Barnes & Noble's bookstores are a playground through and through. Their little Starbucks, usually a small play area for kids and couches and chairs to sit and read and choose the book you want...almost nirvana...a playground for all ages.

    Joe, another great hub. You never disappoint no matter what the subject.

    Voted useful, awesome, and interesting.

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
    Author

    Hawaiian Odysseus 4 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    Hi, Sue!

    Yes, I LOVE the fact that I can combine four addictions of mine in the same setting--coffee, pastries, a good book, and HubPages writing! Yeehaw! I'm good to go!

    Sorry...just another moment of mania as a result of the 30 Days Challenge.

    Have a great evening, Sue, and know how grateful I am that you stopped by. Okay, I've got a ton of catch-up work to do, and I think I'm actually on a roll. Just released my latest hub, and it's controversial. Hope I don't get a lot of hate mail. Aloha!

    Joe

  • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

    Susan Haze 4 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Joe,

    I love Barnes and Noble, actually any bookstore will do. But Barnes and Noble, well, it's special. Our local one has a terrific coffee and pastry shop in it. Can you imagine, you can have your coffee and page through some of their books and magazines. Great stuff. Love your hub.

    Sue

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
    Author

    Hawaiian Odysseus 4 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    Hi, Sally!

    Perish the thought, but if and when a next major global war breaks out, we stand a good chance of losing access to the Internet. Then, all of the people who are so dependent on the 'Net (of whom I am a chief example) will grieve that they had not balanced their lives with the equal access to both hard copies of books and the virtual forms of same. Okay, that's the morbid end of the spectrum. On the other and more milder range of possibilities, you were spot on in mentioning the hope that our children and grandchildren, etc., will have books to read and lose themselves in. Thank you for sharing your great thoughts, Sally...you make my citizenship here in the HubPages community a very delightful experience. Thank you so much, my friend, and as I shared with Kathryn earlier in this section, please forgive me for not being more prompt and present on your hubs. I will eventually catch up with my reading and responding to others' terrific writing, but I have just enough energy to play catch up with my own Challenge here, and I blame no one but myself for the foolish choices I made and lack of planning that left me in this mess. But that's all part and parcel of what I'm learning from having committed to this challenge. Aloha, my friend!

    Joe

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
    Author

    Hawaiian Odysseus 4 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    Thanks, DDE! You are among a wise population of people who passionately feel the same way. I'm there with you! Aloha!

    Joe

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
    Author

    Hawaiian Odysseus 4 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    Kathryn, you are so intuitive and understanding. I feel a twinge of guilt because I haven't had the time or energy to keep up with my hub-reading and commenting. Please forgive me. I have kept the notifications in my inbox, and they continue to grow, but if I want to make a Custer's last stand out of this, I have to concentrate on the goal I set to finish this thing. That said, I so appreciate you for gracing my efforts with your smiling face and beautiful words. They sustain me when I most need encouragement. I'm doing this with two very strong women, but for the sake of the guys who are faithfully pulling for me, I can't let them down. Don't know if I'll get all 30 in, but at the same time, I have to believe. Otherwise, I'm committing a grievous writer's error of succumbing to the fear of success. Thanks for sharing of yourself with passionate commitment to the art of writing and the love of humanity. Aloha!

    Joe

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
    Author

    Hawaiian Odysseus 4 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    You know it, girl! I try my best to never miss an opportunity. With the pressure of the 30 Hubs in 30 Days Hub Challenge, however, I'm NOT my usual hustler self. I don't mean in any way to down the Challenge...I take full responsibility for not better knowing what I was getting into and thus not planning my days' itinerary better. Yes, it's true...life does get in the way, but I still think that next time around, I'll be better prepared. That said, I am planning to release more eBay hubs on and before the 30th as I scramble to make a last gasp sprint to the finish. This old fart still has a tiger in his tank...albeit more of a domesticated lazy tabby. : ) Thank you for stopping by and giving me a drink of water. Aloha!

    Joe

  • sallybea profile image

    Sally Gulbrandsen 4 years ago from Norfolk

    There is nothing better than the feel and smell of fresh pages in a brand new book - well except for the enjoyment I get from people watching in a Bookshop. Somehow I prefer the solitary silence of my own home for actually reading a book. I do hope the kindle does not stop people from actually buying and reading paper books. I have loved reading and writing since I was a little girl and as a parent, I would tell my young children that they should never feel lonely, just as long as they could escape into a book! I wonder if the same can be said of a Kindle? Another one bites the dust Joe - what will tomorrow bring?

  • DDE profile image

    Devika Primić 4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

    I enjoy browsing in bookstores and will not miss out on any bookstore, great hub!

  • Kathryn Stratford profile image

    Kathryn 4 years ago from Manchester, Connecticut

    Joe, just hearing you talk about the Barnes and Noble brings a warm feeling to my mind. I love bookstores, especially with the coffee shops. I find it utterly relaxing to sit down and write, browse through magazines and books, and observe what is going around me.

    I agree that real books and bookstores AND technology like the Kindle can co-exist. The stores are too popular to go down the drain, and so are books. I like using technology to read, but there is nothing like the smell of a book, and the feel of the pages.

    I think it is a very good idea to do your own thing, and have your own space every once in a while. It's ideal to maintain your individuality while in a relationship. It's awesome that you use the time they spend shopping to relax and recharge, as well as get some things done.

    Well done, Joe, you're getting there! Another great one down, and several more to go.

    Have a great day, although it will most likely be hard to have much "fun" when it is close to the end of the challenge. Take care, my friend!

    ~ Kathryn

  • Radcliff profile image

    Liz Davis 4 years ago from Hudson, FL

    I love my Kindle, but I love books, too. I do hope there will always be room in the brick-and-mortar retail world for both.

    Any retail arbitrage taking place on this trip?

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
    Author

    Hawaiian Odysseus 4 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    Hi, Jim!

    I love that you remain well connected with your daughter. Every time I look at my "little girl," all grown up now, I have to ask myself...and sometimes aloud to my wife...whatever happened to the time? She's moved out temporarily for a couple of months to live with a girlfriend for the summer while working full time at a bakery. The fact that she's only a mile away ironically makes it harder than when she lived half a globe away. Hard to explain, but I think you know what I mean. The worse thing a father can do is cling, so I remind myself that the infant butterfly has to wrestle its way out of a cocoon and thrive from that challenging experience. The same is true for our young ones. Sorry...I really got sidetracked there. But I just wanted you to know that I think it's great that you are able to play Words With Friends with her long distance. That was very thoughtful of her to present you and your wife with those iPad gifts. My wife makes very good use of the one my son gifted me with. : ) Aloha, my friend, and thanks for stopping by to share in this hub experience. I hope we never experience Fahrenheit 451 in our lifetime. Aloha!

    Joe

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
    Author

    Hawaiian Odysseus 4 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    Thank you, Bill! Only five articles, my friend? You spit out the articles like the Amazing Spiderman shouts out web! I could use your prolific talent just about now. I hate to say it, but my walking has diminished...but only because I haven't scheduled things wisely. I will admit, Bill, even if I don't make it this time around, I've learned enough valuable lessons to make a successful go at it the next round. Thanks for your continual and engaging support, my friend! Have a wonderful and productive day! Aloha!

    Joe

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
    Author

    Hawaiian Odysseus 4 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    Thank you, WND! The wetnosedogs would have fun romping around on the beautiful and spacious lawn outside. The community of Milton-Freewater has the nickname, Muddy Frogwater, so there are large figurines of frogs everywhere, and the dogs would have fun satisfying their collective curiosity around them, maybe even marking their new friends' feet. Ha-ha! The library really does look like it doesn't belong in the town surrounding it. And, oh, what a nice atmosphere inside to just kick back without anyone disturbing your reading or writing time...although, while I was there on several occasions, I saw and chatted with two or three Oregonians I knew from years ago. Have a wonderful day! Aloha!

    Joe

  • xstatic profile image

    Jim Higgins 4 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

    You are right Joe! Books remain the best way to read for me too. My daughter gave me an iPad about a year ago. I use it mostly to play Words With Friends with her long distance. (Can't believe she beats me)

    I have recently loaded two or three books onto it via Amazon, but have yet to read one in that format. My daughter also gave my wife an iPad Mini which has worked out well for her since she has been fighting a wrist problem for over a year now and the mini is lighter than most books. She likes reading with it a lot.

    You have written a great article here which reinforces the idea that books are still best.

  • billybuc profile image

    Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

    I am a bookstore junkie. No doubt about it; just shoot it into my veins and I'm good to go for another week. :)

    Good morning Joe! I have a new customer and I have five articles to write for him today, so this will have to be short. Just wanted to wish you a great day. Summer arrives here this afternoon and hot is the keyword this weekend, as I'm sure it is there as well.

    Great job on the 30/30 challenge my friend.

    Aloha,

    bill

  • wetnosedogs profile image

    wetnosedogs 4 years ago from Alabama

    Well, you know me. I would gather up a book any day.

    I am pretty much the person who hates to go shopping, especially with someone. Other people seem to have to look at everything, as I get what I want and I am out of there.

    I hope, too, the bookstore never dies. That would be a great pity.

    Having your personal space time is the best time. I experience that too as I get older.

    Fantastic hub. You did a tremendous job again.