People Watching: Bookstore Style

Whenever I go to the bookstore, I generally see the same clientele. Students chat in the cafe, over daunting textbooks. A guy flips through rock climbing magazines, and checks his phone every minute. The air smells like coffee and new books. Recently, the scene has changed.

Twice now, I have seen an older gentleman, looking like he emerged from a time capsule. He must have recently returned from hobnobbing with F. Scott Fitzgerald about his new Gatsby book, because now he settles down in the twenty-first century to write science fiction as the modernist movement has never seen.

As he sits in the cafe chair, he adjusts the crocheted pillow behind him and taps away at his computer. With his mysterious black ring and fedora, the computer seems out of place. A typewriter would fit much better.  But of course, he doesn’t want to be too conspicuous. Classical guitar drips out of the speakers overhead.

After taking a few refreshing strolls about the store, he closes the computer and pulls out some popular fiction.  His phone rings.

“Hi Denise,” he says. “Yes, I’ll be there. See you. Bye.”  The gentleman looks at me.  “That was my niece,” he says. “I’m going to pick her up at three.” 

Before I can respond, he puts his book in front of his face again. The time machine, the revolutionary sci-fi opus, and Gatsby all vanish. In front of me is a stylish, aging gentleman, who is proud to pick up his niece at three in the afternoon.  


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