I discovered this place a year ago. I had come before to get something but I never actually appreciated the space it holds until recently.
I try to come at least two times a week. Always the same routine. I look around, sneak peak books that get my attention, grab a few of them, think about getting a coffee but never really order one, sit down at the corner table next to the window, and start.
Every time is different, unknown. Unlike my university library or Starbucks, always silent or crowded, this specific spot has seen more production from me than any other space in Tampa.
Today I think I finally noticed why: it is about the life that exists here. Never too crowded or empty. There is always a balance and diversity. People from all ages and stages in life. Young girl learning French, 60-year old man in a vintage suit reading a book, three ladies in their 80’s playing cards, a man holding a magazine while talking out loud to himself, the barista checking if any customer needs any other drink, a middle aged woman with five huge books in front of her, a guy wearing a big black hat decorated with red leaves and plastic skulls, and me – filling this scenario with whatever my role may seem to them.
This place makes me feel comfortable and focused. People are so engaged in what they are doing, unlike cafés where people always seem to be in a rush. Here, hours go by and we have to leave because the barista re-announced that they close in five minutes.
I think it is the books. Like the books we are all gathering here, floating. So different from each other, yet sharing the same space and having a unique role at this moment. We are like books after all, filled with hundred of pages, plot twists, dramatic and peaceful chapters. Yet we here sit quietly, taking this space and time with much pride and indifference to other books.
I wonder If books looked like people, which book would I be? or what chapter of my book would I be at? Can you think which type of character you would be now? If so, would you change it tomorrow?
I love the fact that I can grab as many different books as I would like. This freedom makes my choosing very special. However, I do not want to let the variety overwhelm me with starting books I will hardly finish, because of time. I prefer to sit quietly for now, observe the variety, and slowly come back to my present book.
By the way, this place is a Barnes & Noble.