Two Sugars, Please

Heather Fischer

Coffee houses and bookstores are possibly the biggest social experiment I've ever seen. There is one bookstore that I spend more hours in than what is necessary, and which oh-so-conveniently provides me with my caffeine buzz as well, has the most diverse group of regulars that I've ever had the pleasure to gawk at. There is the older married couple that sits with stacks of magazines in front of them. He flips idly through an auto magazine, and she religiously copies down every recipe out of Good Housekeeping. They've been here for nearly as long as I have. And while I've spent my five American dollars on a coffee, I've never seen them purchase anything. Now..I understand that while the store has never said anything to them about this..I cannot help but take into account where I am. I'm not in the library. I'm in a bookstore. Those magazines that this couple is so diligently pawing through will at some point need to be purchased. I wouldn't care so much, except for the fact that they never put away their magazine selections when they're through. Nope. They just leave them for an employee to pick up. And when that poor girl stacked with her ear piece, apron, and name tag come on over, I can't help but feel sorry for her. She isn't a housekeeper. So, this section is dedicated to you, Minimum-wage-bookstore-employee, may your days of picking up after couples stricken with boredom soon cease to be.

Speaking of gawking, during the duration of my time here..there has been one man trying not to let me catch him staring at me. Unfortunately, he is failing miserably. He's tried to look busy typing away at his lap top, or thumbing through a book that he brought with him, or even staring past me out the window when I catch him. Thank you sir, I'm flattered that you would choose me as the object of your fascination, or maybe just to ease your own brain-lull. But please, stop staring at me like you want to take my skin and wear it as a dress. I promise you, it won't be a nice fit on your physique. I see you here often, too. Just like the Magazine Borrowers. And I'm sure I'll see you again. So maybe next time we meet, offer to buy my coffee. It will take out that Silence of the Lambs factor. And yes, in case you're wondering, I already put lotion on my skin.

The last thing that piqued my interest as a social observer was a family. Ordinary family of four, a boy and a girl. They had their books, and while they read, their mom and dad so lovingly went to get them cookies and milk. Cute. I'm all about increasing literacy in children, and to be honest, seeing little kids learning how to read does something to melt this heart of mine. But oh, oh how it struck me when their parents came back with cookies..and soy milk. Soy milk? Really? Okay, I get're trying to teach them to be healthy. But as a young adult who grew up on the deliciousness that is REAL milk, I had to weep a silent tear. Poor things. They're going to think that milk tastes like cheap dairy creamer. Bet that tastes great with that chocolate chip cookie. My wish for you, Son and Daughter Soy, is that when you get older you not only read anything and everything, but taste real milk. You know..the kind that comes from a cow. Read on, young ones.

The clock has ticked by, and unfortunately the powers that be are telling me its time to close up shop. I'm certain I'll be back, I always am. But for today, I take with me too much caffeine, a steal of a book I found, and a little more culture than I walked in here with. If you ever get the chance, I highly recommend just going and hanging out in a bookstore for a few hours. You'll learn lots, trust me

Euphemism Campus Box 4240 Illinois State University, Normal, IL 61790-4240