Bye Bye Borders

photo via pinterest

I spent “last Friday night” doing something a whole lot more conservative than Katy Perry. I got my hair done and had dinner with my husband. On our walk in town afterwards, we stopped by one of the last remaining historical monuments of my generation: Borders.

As we pushed our way through screaming kids and their fed-up parents, I started to reflect on what this bookstore chain has meant to me throughout my life. As I walked through the big black and red signs with big number discounts, I heard friends bemoaning the loss. I saw women huddled in corners grasping onto thick stacks of a paperback books towering in their arms. People meandered in and out of each row in a haze. Some stared intently at every cover making sure not to miss a good buy.

For me, however, the big sale event was bittersweet.

I remembered the field trip to my local Borders when I first started freelancing. My weeks were relatively light back then. I used to hunt for ideas to pitch magazines by spending my afternoons window shopping and thumbing through books and magazines. Although it was a time of instability, it was also a time of inspiration. I look back on those early years with fond memories.

And then there was my twenties. My girl friends and I had many a Saturday night hanging out in Borders. {We were so cool right?} We went there once having drunk a few too many martinis and laughed our way through each section. My belated apologizes to those we annoyed that night.

My favorite memories, however, were the nights one of my closest friend and I would bunker down on the carpet, grab a handful of books and just talk about love and life.

I know there are other bookstores. A lot of better ones too. But this commercialized bookstore has had an impact on my life. It was the container that held me, that offered me advice on anything from cooking to careers. As a dreamer who spent many hours desiring the life that I have right now, it was the place where I felt it all possible. For that, it deserves a moment of silence and reflection and a worthy goodbye.

So bye bye Borders.

I don’t know what will be next. I don’t know if one day we’ll wake up and there’ll be no more physical bookstores. I hope not. There’s nothing like flipping through a new book, the smell of it, the feel of the paper between your fingertips or the towers of books before you as you walk bug-eyed at the possibilities one book can bring.

Yes, I own a Kindle. But in my heart of hearts, it can never replace the tangible feel of a physical book.