A Journey to Barnes and Noble.
Being a flaming liberal, my chain bookstore of choice is Borders. There, among Asian students, Jewish mothers, and scruffy men with nose piercings, I sip lattes and browse the history and science fiction (and often the travel guides). Today I decided to go to the other place, the huge, concrete-surrounded Barnes and Noble on Madison's West Side.
The bookstore adjoins a plus-size clothing boutique, whose clients I am sure look for books and XXL clothing in the same shopping trip. This branch has a children's corner, walls gaily painted with non-copyrighted cartoon characters. I saw nobody in that area save a janitor scrubbing away at part of the wall.
I entered the store with the intention of looking for Wired magazine. My attention wandered to the fiction shelves, very neatly alphabetized (to its credit). I came to the Z's of fiction and saw some interesting mythology books, and nearly bought a Robert Graves. Then the history shelves beckoned. At least I thought those were history shelves, but coming closer the signs became legible: "Politics," "Christian Spirituality," [a sprawling section], "Gay and Lesbian," [only five feet wide]. Presently I was accosted by a display stand full of Mike Huckabee's latest book, the Huckster's face offensively beaming at me. Now it was only a matter of minutes before I had to leave. I did look for Wired among the magazines (let's see: The Gun, Hunt and Fish, Southern Living, High School Basketball Report....nope, nothing about technology post-1970).