Friday, February 10, 2006


Pros and cons of a small town

Bangor, Maine is by some standards a small town, yet most folks from the outlying villages and hamlets refer to it as "the big city" (albeit with a tinge of derision). Yet one of the things about Bangor I like best is its small-town feel. My bookshop is in the center of the old downtown area, on the second floor of a brick building built in 1911. I took a break today, put a note on the door, and went to the bank (deposit), the library (return OVERDUE library books and PAY SMALL FINE), and the post office (mail one personal package and two shop packages and an insurance bill) and I was back in no time flat - ten minutes tops. I walked - well, jogged, actually because it's five degrees with a cold breeze from the north - but still. It's great to have everything handy.

I'm closing early today for yet another cabin fever booksale. This one's in Ellsworth, half an hour away, and starts at 4:00. I've only had three people in the shop today, so I'm not too worried about all the business I'm going to miss.

I don't know why I ever think that I can check books out of the library and then actually return them. They come into my book room at home and some strange lock-down occurs and they are suddenly mine for life. The fine was only one dollar, for two books, but I fall for this again and again. Dear oh dear. At least I'm not as bad as a friend of mine who keeps his library books long, long, LONG overdue, and finally a posse of the good librarians comes to his door to ask for the books back. Oh, the shame.

I'm from Cooperstown, NY (worked in the Used bookstore there before going to college) and things are the exact same way. Work to post office to lunch to pharmacy to bakery and back to work in under 15 minutes. Granted, it's a bit more crowded during tourist season and that slows things down a bit.
Tourist season here largely consists of people driving through on their way to the coast, so it's not bad at all. An old Maine term for a tourist: A Summer Complaint. I love my annual return visitors, though...
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