I stood outside at the fence today and ate a sandwich and watched everything go past. A grey day, warm, and some rain, and a group of tradesmen over at the picnic table drinking coke and iced coffees.
A couple came past. They looked in my windows. They don’t notice me up the street a little, at the gate of the little carpark. So they don’t lower their voices. He says, ‘Wonder why Strath has two bookstores!’
‘Don’t reckon there’s a need for either of ’em myself, I don’t.’
As they pass me, they join hands and lean against each other.
The thing about bookshops is that their owners are so mindlessly besotted with them that nothing can dampen our enthusiasm or distract us from our purpose. Except other bookshops. Obviously.
Chris drove up in her gopher and said a bit of rain is always useful.
We stood companionably. The traffic is smooth. Cows in trucks. Chris said, ‘Look at them, poor dears.’ She’s not that lucky herself, but never sees it that way.
Lunch people with brown paper bags. Joggers. Workers. A crooked crocodile of junior primary children going somewhere, and who shout at my wooden cat in the front window as they go past.
The rain gives a smell. The wind brings my hanging balloons down. Terry comes in for gardening books and browses without me in there. He manages the Covid app on the door skilfully, calls out to me, ‘You eat your pie. Don’t you worry about a thing.’
More wind: passers-by hold onto their hair. A little boy cries, leaning his head against a pram, the baby in the seat looks out at him. The mother places her hand on the little boy’s head and he stops crying.
A man leaning forward, walking fast with a newspaper. Two youths with a radio on a shoulder, playing rap, black caps, gum, black boots, they walked in rhythm, each looking at the other carefully, sideways. I eat my cheese sandwich. Alan stops and tells me about his problematic family. Said that Strath is made up of all sorts, and that he’s painting again, a big scene this time, and I will love it.