Matthew Cohen, MSW

Matthew Cohen, MSW

Social Justice Solutions | Staff Writer
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Remembering My Time At A Bookstore.

Just yesterday I can remember working in a book store in the Crossgates mall in Albany, New York. I was working on my undergraduate degree in anything but a straight line. I have never done much of anything in a straight line come to think of it. It’s surprising my how many thing remind me of that book store. Not sure if this is just normal nostalgia or something deeper, but there is something reassuring by working around so many books. When patrons come in, you can be rest assured that they are doing something healthy for themselves, with the exception of the time that they are trying to purchase “The Anarchists Cook book.” I think that happened, but this was 13 years ago, so it’s hard to say.

I doubt I felt this positive about the experience at the time. The Mall would close late, the store was perpetually going out of business, and for one nasty Christmas season I had to sit in the calendar Kiosk. The Kiosk was the worst, basically sitting on a stool for 8 hours without human contact listening to the same Christmas songs day after day. This was especially difficult because I am pretty damn sure that I have ADHD, and had some sort of anxiety disorder at the time. The calendar Kiosk was my own personal hell!

Still, the book store was calm, there was always some sort of interesting music selected by the staff. There was all the interpersonal drama you would expect from a book store staffed by a dozen aspiring actors and actresses and one know it all philosophy major ( That’s me if your trying to keep track). I really must have been impossible to deal with back then, I hope I didn’t cause anyone any undue stress. In fact, I quit when the cut my hours. In retrospect this must have been because I was was impossible, still I can’t help thinking that some of the employees took a job at a perpetually closing bookstore a bit too seriously.

Yet, I sit here, years removed, wishfully remembering my time in that simple setting. Yes, the pay was terrible break were never long enough, but some days it would be nice to enter into that type of peaceful environment for work. Long Island won’t have that sort of environment, it’s people don’t stand for it. If your calm you aren’t working hard enough. At the very least, I am truly happy when I remember that book store. If even for a moment, the thought of it gives me the warm and fuzzies. That is something is it not?


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