Man About Town / Getting a read on Borders
Published 1:42 pm, Thursday, October 28, 2010
It was nearly five on a crisp yet sunny afternoon just days shy of Halloween and I found myself in a cushy leather chair in the café area at Border's on the Post Road in Fairfield's downtown. It was quite trafficked, to my surprise, as busy as the thoroughfare just beyond the stretch of floor-to-ceiling windows at the front of the store.
The trees standing guard outside bravely braced against a breeze, though their wispy fall red and yellow leaves twitched and twisted in a frenzy as if they knew their end was near. A mailman made his final pick-ups and commuters hustled home to loved ones.
Three young girls in soccer attire with Adidas and Nike sports totes slung over their shoulders checked out a display of Mini Gifts, taking particular interest in a Harry Potter Time-Turner Sticker Kit.
Two ladies sipped Seattle's Best ice coffees and chatted about their college-aged children and school pressures being exerted on them.
A woman at an adjacent table coughed into the sleeve of her fleece coat, then pulled a packet of powdered flu medication from a Rite-Aid bag to sprinkle into a paper cup. She shuttled the cup to a vessel of boiling hot water and merged the powder and water to form a therapeutic elixir.
A 20-something curvy woman plopped down in a seat near me, curling one leg under herself and balancing her Blackberry on her other propped-up knee. Tap, tap, tap went her nimble fingers on the keys.
By the window, a young man with a 3-inch thick "Nursing Diagnosis Handbook" gingerly pecked at a laptop while periodically eyeballing an iPhone beside him.
An ambitious reader or just curious leafer, a bespectacled woman worked her way through a stack of volumes that included titles from Lisa Black, John Connolly and Barry Eisler -- the current wave of mystery and fiction offerings.
Making a fashion statement, a man with a shock of untamed black hair tucked under a gray fedora padded over in combat boots and flannel and struck up a chat with a pony-tailed blonde in one corner. "NPR" and "trilogy" were the words dropped as each then hunkered down to their respective activities.
A transplant from Manhattan, a brunette with an Ann Taylor LOFT bag wedged beside her was involved in what she termed "a girly book" titled A Man Worth Waiting For. Did the choice reflect a hoped-for goal?
The store manager, a gangly man wearing khakis and a bright green polo, shuttled from a register bank to a book display, a large I.D. tag swinging from a lanyard secured around his neck.
Two young lads in knit caps and logo'd tees eyed DVDs in the "$5.99 OR LESS" rack, remarking on a stale copy of "Hellboy."
A sign near them advertised a "reading and signing" event hosted by Hoda Kotb, a name I thought not the most marketable -- or pronounceable -- that there ever was. It didn't seem to have hindered her career though.
In the distance, the horn of a diesel locomotive sounded as it pulled along passenger cars brimming with city workers training it back home after a long day in the rat race.
It was a signal for me to get rolling back to my own hovel, other slices of local Fairfield life yet waiting for me to observe.
Mike Lauterborn writes his "Man About Town" column appears in the Fairfield Citizen every other Friday.