Getting in some travel this winter without the bookstore but of course there are books involved. The last trip was by train down through Portland, along the west coast in jumbled connections arranged by Amtrak that included trains, taxi, buses and more trains to finally arrive in Albuquerque. On the way back to Montana passing through the Bay Area, managed to take trams, ferries, and BART. Sufficient opportunities to see what people are reading on public transportation. Saw many copies of Michelle Obama’s Becoming being read, most in English while others were translated editions in Spanish, German, French and one I couldn’t quite decipher. Had the pleasure of hearing two thought-filled poetry readings, meeting a travel writer for the NY Times, experiencing Pegasus Books and East Bay Booksellers, Powell’s and Broadway Books, and marveled at the number of little free libraries in most neighborhoods we passed through.
At Powell’s, pleased to see people of all ages roaming the aisles which are carefully numbered and mapped out. Thought about what a map of my traveling bookstore might look like if I designed one. Although my bookstore has only one aisle, it does offer diversity of place. The map would need to incorporate those places in various times. Powell’s has one map as its aisles ( and bookstore) are stationary. A map of St. Rita’s Traveling Bookstore would obviously require more advanced cartographic techniques.
Appreciated Amtrak‘s customer service, especially Libbi in Portland who helped out with muddled reservations, the woman at the Sacramento station who arranged for a forty-eight mile taxi ride so we could make our connection, and the Amtrak bus driver between Bakersfield and LA who had a lovely smile, purple braids and made us feel warmly welcomed despite the damp weather. In general, nearly everyone encountered renewed our faith in humanity: the waitstaff at Milo’s, Don at Robertson & Sons Violin Shop, the man at Smyths Accordions who didn’t mind us all squeezed into the tiny showroom as Ray tried out various accordions.
Arriving home inspired to try harder, to start planning the spring bookstore trip heading south, and to be kinder to people met by chance on the road.