I remember exactly where I was when I met Borders for the first time. It was the summer of 1995 and I was in the passenger seat of my college friend Lori’s car, driving down a bustling, BMW’d, Los Angeles road when all of a sudden I looked up to see windows spanning an entire block, with big neon red lettering atop, spelling out my favorite words:
BOOKS · MUSIC · MOVIES · CAFÉ
Say what? I did a triple take. My mouth dropped to the floorboard.
“What? Is? That?” I somehow managed to say in my stunned state.
Books, music, movies, and COFFEE, all under the same roof? Are you fricking kidding me? I nearly had a spontaneous orgasm. I grunted & pointed until Lori made an illegal U-Turn and paid $30 for an over-priced parking lot just so we could get inside, STAT.
Upon seeing those seemingly infinite aisles of literature, music and movies, it was love at first sight.
An aside for backstory purposes: I may have had a little buzz going, which may have made this encounter all the more intense and surreal. Because let me tell you, it was intense and surreal. Just like love at first sight is purported to be.
First stop, CAFÉ, because holding a coffee in my hand while perusing BOOKS · MUSIC · MOVIES was as close to a wet dream as I could get while awake and as a woman.
Since we had just come from seeing the foreign film Il Postino about a young latin lover, I mean postman, who learns to love poetry through meeting Pablo Neruda, I naturally made a beeline for the poetry section where I made mental love to stacks of Neruda’s poetry. Then I shared a little one-on-one time with Sharon Olds and Shakespeare before moseying over to the fiction section where my heart nearly exploded with desire. I had had other book stores before, but there was something magical about this place.
My dream date with Borders continued as I sauntered through the MUSIC section, which reminded me of the days I had spent wandering the Tower Records’ aisles with my dad as a kid. Of course I headed to the Soundtrack aisle, because lord knows I love show tunes, and thumbed through the Andrew Lloyd Webber tab looking for any new compilation of Evita & Jesus Christ Superstar songs.
Ultimately I landed on the MOVIES section and wondered if I should buy the only copy of Harold & Maude (which now I regret not buying since I can’t find it anywhere–more on Harold & Maude next week).
The evening was everything you’d expect a first date to be; it was engaging, stimulating, and exciting, and it called me back for more dates (figuratively that is, Borders didn’t actually call me).
A long love affair blossomed.
Over the years, I visited Borders frequently, particularly for milestones and holidays. The day after I got engaged I went there to buy wedding mags and wedding organizers. When my dad died, I went there for solace since just the mere smell of books reminded me of him. When I peed on a stick and it came up negative ten times in a row, I went there for infertility books, and when I peed on a stick and it came up positive, I went there to find out what the hell I should do next. And every year around December 1st, I would hunker down inside my nearby Borders to bang out a huge chunk of my Xmas gift list.
Yep, Borders helped me with everything from gift buying to baby naming, all the while keeping me hip with new music selections and caffeinated with yummy coffee drinks.
As our relationship matured, and I became a mom, Borders became one of my favorite hangouts with my kids. Tuesday storytime with bubbles and crafts was the highlight of our week. Together, Borders and I planted the seeds of book-love in my kids and created memories I will have forever.
Even when the sleeker looking Barnes & Noble tried to get my attention or when the hawt new guy Kindle came to town, my steadfast love for Borders never waivered. So, yesterday, when I learned that Borders, is closing its doors for good, I had to take a moment to reflect on our special, symbiotic relationship. For the past sixteen years, since our first date in ’95, in exchange for my money, they gave me entertainment, advice, support, joy and enrichment in the form of BOOKS · MUSIC · MOVIES · CAFÉ.
I am sad to see this chapter end. Bye, bye, Borders. I’ll miss you.