Tag Archives: social anxiety

Story Time!

8 Mar

Alright, kids, I hate to let life get in the way of my blogging responsibilities, but sadly it does happen from time to time. I’m in the middle of moving so I’ve got to keep this short and sweet this week. No deep insights! Very few ridiculous analogies! Plain old ordinary anecdotes! Possibly even typos. It’s so haphazard and exciting. Sorry. Next week I’ll try to be a badass. If I’ve got my shit together by then. Onward and upward. (Cue campfire ghost story voice. Ahem.)

Our story begins in a dim and dreary bookstore in the rainy depths of coastal California. This particular bookstore has pretty damn satisfactory scifi and fantasy sections (Tin Can Mailman in Arcata – I always leave happy and broke, check it out if you’re close and need a bookstore, plugplugplug). And the scifi section faces the front door so everyone who comes in has to walk right by you, right? I was standing there with (I’m not even fucking kidding) Isaac Asimov, Carl Sagan, Piers Anthony, and Frank Herbert in my hand. In those great old 1970’s-looking mass market paperbacks? I love those. I looked like a walking cheapskate scifi 101 class, though, for real.

In walked these two gentlemen who were clearly on a mission to find a particular book. Which should’ve been right where I was standing. But wasn’t. Of course. And it’s a used bookstore and they’re usually kind of busy and they’re by nature a little disorganized so I usually look two or three times and try random leaps of logic to try to look in other places that it just might have possibly ended up through some twist of fate. But these two gentlemen were being extremely thorough, even by those standards. And they were all up in my space, you know? I suppose at some point my comfort bubble got a bit bent because myopic, fucking overly polite me, I stepped back and started squinting at the books from afar so as to give these dudes the prime scifi section real estate, goddamn it. Because clearly they felt that their used bookstore experience was of a higher priority than mine.

One guy gave me the thank you nod (manners props to Dude #1!) and the other guy. Ooh, the other guy. Homeboy looked like Comic Book Guy’s, geekier more UV avoidant cousin (can you make fun of Simpsons characters for being pale? Does that even work? Fuck, I’m brainfried, just let it go). And you know, I don’t give a shit what people look like, I really really don’t. But sometimes you can just spot them from a mile away. Those haughty kind of LARPier-than-thou sorts of guys. They fall within a bell curve. They usually resemble the bell curve, as a point of interest. So this walking fucking stereotype, this caricature of a human being, gave my books the “I’m obviously being nosy about your books but it’s ok because we’re in a bookstore” head-tilt eyeball situation. And giggled. More of a giggle/scoff, really. A gloff, if you will.

At this point I should’ve asked him “What the hell, bro?” And just intimidated the shit out of him with my meaty social prowess and skillful altercation-starting skills. But those things aren’t real, you see, so I was left in this weird state of not knowing what had just happened or how to feel about it. Which is how I feel most of the time when I deal with other humans. Also why I moved to the middle of nowhere to a county that literally has more bears than people. That’s statistics. Look it up.

Because that gloff had the stink of superiority to it. And I don’t know why. I’m bothered by this not knowing (grammar what?). Are these four really important scifi classics not good enough for Dude #2? Because that’s bullshit. Maybe he was just a fantasy geek who scoffs at scifi in general, but then why the rudeness trying to get past me to the scifi books? Or was he laughing because he assumed I hadn’t read them (three of them I had, I just didn’t own my own copies, for the record)? In which case the proper etiquette of nosy bookstoreness would be to say “Hey, those are really good books” not “You mean you’re in your thirties and you haven’t read those yet?” Or maybe (because we need at least one optimistic prospect) he was thrown off by my being a girl in the scifi section at all and couldn’t think of anything to say that was polite so he opted for the idiot gloff instead. Any of these things is possible.

Anyway. I guess it’s just a mystery. Damn, there’s really no good way to end that story. It was a frustrating nerd moment, you know? I’ve let it roll off my back. After I stopped myself from chasing him down the street screaming “Why?! Why?!” Then I let it roll off my back. I’m not particularly good with people. So, if we need to find a moral here: be nice in bookstores, ok?