Imagine that’s the weekend. I’m writing this post during the weekend, so it’s probably a lot easier for me to imagine this than for you.

This particular Saturday evening comes after three enjoyable, one passable and what might as well have been nine horrid weekdays worth of unshaven, unwashed and sometimes disinterested high school sophomores.

Imagine that this week has just passed you, belligerence and all while still imagining that it’s the weekend. Please try to do imagine with your eyes open. I don’t suppose you’d be able to continue reading if you closed them.

Stressed, you need to get away from, with or to everything. What do you do? I’m just 21, myself, and I haven’t yet cemented my favorite pastimes or prejudices. So far, I simply know what I don’t do.

I don’t go to bars because I don’t drink. I don’t go to clubs because I’m cheap. I don’t go to friends’ houses because I’m paralyzed by a fear of intruding.

I rarely go to movies in part because I’m not so sociable that I feel I must and in part because most movies sustain only my disinterest. At least, until Rotten Tomatoes tells me otherwise. I do go to all Tim Burton films, and all second sequels at a midnight showing. Both types are few and far between.

Instead, and just recently, I go to bookstores.

My town has the glory accorded to it by not one but two major nationally franchised bookstores. If you’ve ever been able to hock one across a six-lane boulevard and its median, they’re also within spitting distance of each other. I choose which store I attend by whim, or to mix things up.

I find that our Barnes and Noble’s bright lighting is fine for looking for though not reading books, and that it usually has better prices and a better selection of my favored genres. Not to be outdone, Borders’ sitting-and-reading-books-but-not-paying-for-them area is far superior, with dimmer lighting and far more comfortable armchairs.

I’ll spend a whole morning into an afternoon into an evening at exactly one seat in one bookstore. Usually, I’m leafing through something with pictures and word balloons. Heavier reading — don’t get me wrong, as some comic books are pretty heavy — is right out. Wherever I sit at either bookstore, not-Muzak’s faux flamenco and synthesized trumpets seem to blare above me.

I have Barnes and Noble’s playlist memorized from hearing it so often, so Borders again has the advantage once I return with my literary conquests.

When the intercom stops trickling out its vocal arrangement of Holst’s Jupiter to announce not the new Starbucks honey-mocha-blend Frappuccino™ but that the store will close in 15 minutes, I beat the rush and simply wobble up onto my legs.

My eyes have trouble adapting to focusing beyond 10 inches once again, but once the fuzzy people get sharper, the routine out is easy.

I make my way out to my car. I drive back to my dorm. I wait seven days. Again, I get away from it all.

Out of the house, what do you do for fun and leisure?


  1. Apparently, I take weekend trips to the Badlands. I’ve been by for the past 4 weekends. It’s (only) a two hour drive to get there, but it’s true that they’re different every time.

    I guess my vote, then, is to find a local park to visit. Get outside and find a place away from the everyday situation.

  2. I’d like parks better if they had free books.

  3. The beauty of National Parks is that they do have the books, or at least they have flyers. And a bookstore. Maybe a museum.

    Considered that the closest library, my preference to bookstores, is ~50 minutes away and closed whenever I visit, the Badlands really are a good trip for me.

  4. Fair enough.

    To be honest, I prefer libraries, too. No Starbucks, superior selection, the price is right and the atmosphere is far better. But my area doesn’t have any libraries I like going to.

  5. Nothing at your school? That’s sad. Libraries are definitely in the top 5 things I miss living in the middle of nowhere. College spoiled me with an amazing library at school and a public library that I liked.

    The coolest thing about the library “here” is that you can check out cakepans. Relatedly, my other escape here is to go grocery shopping. It’s the one store in town that I can count on being open on Sunday afternoons.

  6. I was thinking public library. Our school library is O.K., but its selection — and the atmosphere — is beat by a Big Bookstore.

    The reason: My college’s library is Under Construction. Rather than being able to browse the stacks, we get to order books online and pick them up later.


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