Thursday, June 28, 2012

Who is Karl Rogue? Dropping Eaves in the Café of the Damned

Via The Blaze
Not one for mincing her words, unless she's mincing someone with them, Daphne has an exquisite conversation with her brother....who doesn't mince words, either. Better go there now and read her blog while it is still open. Like Borders Books, it's closing soon!

The only place to hear such conversations  - other than in offices and doctors' waiting rooms is the bookstore café.

My daughter used to work in Border's  coffee shop.  I'd often go there for a free cuppa and to people watch, and I can say with certainty, that the bizarre conversation Daphne's brother heard actually happened, because the coffee shop is a twit magnet. Seriously, it is.

There are maybe only two bookstore chains left, Amazon doing away with the need for them. The bookstore is a kind of secular temple, so the most interesting conversations are all about atheism, enviromentalism, leftwing politics, all topics riddled with unquestioning clichés and bumper sticker sound bytes... and all the other boring topics that impress the girls that Daphne's brother described.

I thought I would share a few of the more memorable ones that my daughter either related to me, or that we both heard, since they are indicative of the state of the educated minds swirling around  in the bookstores, nowadays.

Conversation that Emily and I had about an interesting event at work:

"Carl Rogue was signing books at the store, today."

"Carl Rogue? You mean Karl Rove. Wow. Were there a lot of protesters?"

"Not really. I got to meet him. He's nice. What did he do that made everyone so mad at him?"

"He was George Bush's advisor. A lot of the really hardcore Bush haters think he is Satan. That he should be in jail."

"Well, he's really nice. We had a catered lunch for him from Isaac's, and he offered me a 'sammich'.. That's how he said it, too. Sammich. I had a roast beef sammich with Carl Rogue, and it was a really nice time. Then he went out and signed a lot of books. There were exactly 3 protesters. They kept trying to interrupt him and they were saying that "1 Bush = 10, 000 dead babies. I don't know if they were protesting the war or abortion. They got kicked out for annoying everyone."

Emily is easily bored with politics. She'd rather tell you about anything else but politics. I did well with this one.

Conversation between a man and sales clerk helping him in his search for something really, really important, and had to be led out of the bookstore in order to find it in the parking lot before the police arrived:

The disheveled young man with the badly uncombed long, unwashed hair came by me as I was sitting in the café drinking my mango-peach kreme kula.  My big feet almost tripped him, and he swerved in time to avoid falling with the tower of hardbacks he was carrying.

He was both rushed and angry, and I apologized to him for having my feet in his way. He only looked at me with rage and disgust and began to slap his books into separate piles on one of the tables.

Each book was slapped loudly, causing all the patrons to look at him. After his books were arranged, he left, and came back not many minutes later, with another tower of hardbacks and began again to loudly slap his books down into the piles on the table.

A clerk came by as we all watched him, and asked if she could help him find something.

"You aren't qualified to help me find what I need."

"Well, I am a bookstore clerk. I'm sure there's something I can help you with."

"I am (long dramatic pause) waiting for the dharma."

"I'm sorry. What was that again?"


"There's no reason to shout.  I suggest you wait for your dharma outside, before I call the police."

He promptly left to go outside to wait for his dharma.  The curious patrons gathered round the table with the towers of books upon them. He had cleared out the religious book section and made three piles upon the table. Korans, Bibles, Torahs, Buddhist books, books on Hinduism. The clerk looked at the books and sighed. "At least they all go back to the same section."

These were just two of the many interesting things that went on in the Borders where Emily worked. Please don't read anything culturally  important into them. This isn't exactly a serious rant....just an observation.

I would love to have been the fly on this wall.


  1. I used to love to hang in the coffee shops at Borders or B&N... back in the day when I lived in The City. They were also fertile hunting grounds for the geriatric bachelor. :-)

  2. And did the geriatric bachelor have much luck in bagging his quarry?

  3. A lil bit... but nothing lasting (obviously).

  4. Oh well, you might have better luck trolling the magazine racks at Books-A-Million!

  5. I'm commenting late, but as a Barnes & Noble worker for the last six years . . . man. I tell ya, some days working at a bookstore is like spending an entire 8 hour shift riding a city bus in a midnight hour that never ends.

    Tip: at least a third of the crazy ones are also stealing things. It's part of the act.

  6. I used to work in Books-a-Million, in Roanoke, VA, and I agree with you. Much of our crazies also tried this scam: Returning books not bought at our store (mail-order books) for refunds. I sometimes miss working in book stores, but I really love amazon. Buying a book where you pay less for the book than shipping and handling is always a good thing.

  7. Looks like Dharma-boy had a latte to drink. Maybe too much. Thankfully, the Bouncer-foo of the clerk is quite strong.

    Nice pic of the group of Santa's, Jewel. Different look than what you'ld see in or near a bar. I would have expected higher heels and skimpier outfits. But what do I know, its a more intellectual bunch that hangs out at a bookstore (Ho ho ho!).

    Okay... my bad...


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