I am at Barnes & Noble on a sodden Friday — my flex day. On the round Formica café table are my coffee, two gardening magazines, and a warm peanut butter cup cookie on a white ceramic plate (“For here, please”). The café hums behind me — I spent far too much time selecting my seat (in the corner? by the window? with a wall behind me? facing the tables or the bookstore?) — and in front of me a man in a cobalt blue sweater and well-worn sneakers browses the technology aisle. Rain drops run in rivulets down the store windows, and I am cozy with my coffee, cookie, and composition book.
I left my laptop at home. In this murmuring book store, on my day off, I am surrounded by physical media. Journals, books, magazines. Vinyl, compact disks. My pen tip scratching across the blue-lined paper of a wide-ruled Mead composition book (they didn’t have college-ruled, which is probably for the best now that I have old-lady eyes).
Before I left home, I opened my computer to pay a bill and look up some phone numbers (eye doctor, nail salon) and hours (library, book store). As soon as I opened it, Slack boinged at me, Telegram dinged at me, red notification bubbles glared at me, and browser and calendar banner notifications slid open in the upper right of my screen. I quit every application quickly so I wouldn’t see anything that might suck me in.
I managed to not work — a narrow escape! — but did not manage to avoid falling into the digital chasm. After I finished my online errands, I somehow spent 15 minutes searching for desktop wallpaper to satiate my craving for turquoise water, warmth, and a feeling of tranquility. I have no idea how I ended up there. I did not find satisfactory wallpaper before realizing the trap I was falling into. I shut the laptop and left it behind so I could spend my rainy day flex day at the book store.
Cherry blossoms are popping pink against the brown landscape, and I saw my first tulip of the year today, a spring yellow.
Today’s drenching should green the landscape quickly. I wanted to spend some time today weeding, but I’m not sad the rain is keeping me in instead. I haven’t started thinking about the garden yet this year, and with how warm it’s been, I’m finally ready. On the table in front of me are a glossy, staple-bound Virginia Gardener and a matte, glue-bound Gardening for Birds & Butterflies.
The green of their covers is fresh and alive compared to the dreary March grey outside. I fear I will leave here with a mind full of wishes, and a dangerous desire to spend a lot of money on flowers.