Staying in university (or college) equals to a huge amount of freedom. Depending on your preferences, you can smoke five packs of cigarettes a day (didn’t try), have a late night rendezvous with that cute guy downstairs (totally didn’t try) or get drunk out of your wits (definitely didn’t try). My roomie and I, we’re guilty. We’re guilty of not getting the full college experience.
On a free evening, when most residents were preparing to party, we decided to take a one-hour train ride to visit a bookstore. To justify our choice of after-school activity, it wasn’t just any bookstore. It was an independent one, or indie, if that sounds well, cooler.
We arrived at our stop (by metro) barely half and hour before their closing time and took a rushed tour (filled with panicked flailing) around the hipster enclave which was filled with more bars than I’d ever seen in my life. Anyway, we managed to locate the shop near the end of a very long road full of you guessed it, pubs and bars. Being as crazy as we are, we ran helter-skelter (yes, we did) and met a young lady at the door who was throwing out her takeaway container. Seeing no objection from said lady, we pushed open the glass door and proceeded further. As soon as we’d stepped into the store, I could feel two unwelcome gazes upon my skin. Undeterred, we infiltrated further into the shop. Man, was it beautiful! It was superbly designed, warm, welcoming (apart from the shop assistants) and the layout was set expertly so that customers with lots of time to spare would stop every few metres to browse through their collection.
While we were sweeping through their stocks to locate titles I needed for class, the beautiful girls were hanging out by the counter, chatting away about hairdos and their stints as bartenders. Meanwhile, we were fretting over not being able to find any of the books and keeping an eye on the time. As I shuffled past one of the shelves, my bag brushed against a display stand on the table behind me and both stand and book fell from grace. “Oops,” I muttered somewhat awkwardly, bending to pick them off the polished parquet floor. Being helpful, my friend took the stand from me and sought to set it back on the table while I tried to place the book back on it. However, before a fibre of paper even came close to touching the stand, a slender, tanned hand interrupted, pulling the stand away. “You’re doing it wrong,” a somewhat condescending and annoyed voice announced.
It was a good call by the owners of the shop to sell books and to do the place up beautifully, because if it weren’t for that, I think I might have exited the store without a second glance. Even with all the beautiful books around us, there was always a sense that I wasn’t wanted around, as if my dress sense or personality dictated whether I could be in an indie shop. I can’t help feeling that these girls think that by working in a hipster district, they, by default, are hipsters, which makes all other people uncool. If that goes on, I have a strange feeling that the next time I make the journey there, another bar will be in its place.
Unfortunately, my friend and I are addicted to buying books and even more so from quaint little bookstores. There is another one on our little island that is quite well-received by normal people and hipsters alike. I’ve heard that their girls are very pretty… and snobby.
Maybe it’s a thing with indie bookshops.