Friday, December 11, 2009

Sometimes You CAN go Home Again

Before I went to seminary, nearly all of my working life was spent in retail. The vast majority of that was spent as a bookseller. From September of 1991 until I left for seminary in July of 2003, I was first a staff person at, and then the manager of, The World Eye Bookshop in Greenfield, MA.

The World Eye, as most folks call it, is a wonderful store. It survived a fire in 1996, from which it came back better and stronger than ever. For many years, I thought I would be there forever, buying the store and living in Greenfield, my adopted home-town.

God, as we now know, had other plans. I love my life and my ministry, and don't doubt for a moment that I've made the right response to God's call. Despite this, every so often, I get a bookselling twinge. Today, I got to go home again.

I learned in conversation with my friend-for-life (and World Eye owner) Ann that she was going to be short-staffed today. And, I was going to be in Greenfield with a bunch of free time. So, from 11-2:30, I was back in the bookselling saddle. I discovered a number of things:
  • It's amazing what your body remembers. After 6.5 years of not accessing this information, I can still find fiction (or travel, of the baking section of the cookbook area) without having to stop and think about it.
  • I can still run a cash register, and it's mostly the same. I can still make change in my head, and count it back to the penny.
  • Certain movements are ingrained in my body: the set of motions it takes to apply a price tag to merchandise with the most efficiency; the patterns of the keystrokes to open the cash register drawer; how to write up credit slips.
  • Time marches on. Several times, I discovered that I was answering questions based on information that was 6.5 years old. (Of course we have Dungeons and Dragons books [nope]. I can't tell if this book is in stock at our distributors [yes, I can, there's a live stock link].
  • I knew faces quite readily, but many names were gone. It was fun to watch a few people double-take.
  • I'm not reading enough books these days (lots of magazines, blogs, and a newspaper, but precious few books). I dreaded being asked for recommendations.
My only disappointment was that more of my old regular customers didn't wander by.

For the 12 years that I worked there, I can count the days when I hated my job on one hand. Every day was different. Most days were more fun than you can imagine. Today was fun, too. I'm perfectly happy to go back to my day-job, and I am so grateful for a chance to play in my old stomping grounds.

1 comment:

Margaret Evans Porter said...

Yay, you! Bookstores and booksellers totally rock!