For a long time after I stopped smoking, I had a recurrent . . . what my Aunt Harriet would have called a 'yen' for something. But what? The what, of course, was a cigarette. Once I realized it (and it happened, again and again), I would dive straight into the fruit bowl, the candy dish, or the refrigerator. On the theory that it was better to have love-handles than a round of chemo at Sloan-Kettering.
This week I've been shadowed by just that kind of 'yen.' Except there's no mystery about what it is I have a yen for. Simply stated, I need to be on the road, any road, anywhere, now. But landlordly, grandparental and volunteer duties have grounded me and will continue to ground me till the weekend, when I hope to get back on track. Literally.
Thanks for your patience in the meantime.
AN UNABASHED PLUG
There's a lot I miss about a city increasingly dominated by real estate development and national brands, the only tenants who can afford today's outrageous commercial rents.
Two of the things I miss most are (1) used book stores run on a tiny margin by people who love books; and (2) independently owned coffee shops--not franchise operations--where you can spend the morning over a cup or a conversation and the person who serves you is likely to be the person who owns the place.
Here in St. George (Staten Island), we're lucky to live close by just such an establishment, the ETG Book Cafe and Neighborhood Stage--that serves Fair Trade coffees and a variety of teas and fresh baked goods, and has a really large and interesting used book selection, vintage LPs, and a small stage used for all kinds of performances, including an open mic night.
Even in my short time as a volunteer book-shelver at ETG, I've developed an appreciation for the quality of its inventory. If you like friendly, slightly shabby used bookstores where there's enough to keep you browsing for a while, this is the place. The coffee's pretty good, too. And it's only three blocks from the ferry. (I'm the one with the buzzed head standing on a ladder in the back, squinting at a book jacket.)