I always feel sad when I see something closing. At one time, this place, this idea was someone’s dream. Expansion, that great American ideal, that when you’re successful at something, you can grow, and all will love you from broader lands, and you’ll make money doing it, when it reality it’s a crapshoot.
Small businesses come and go, most fail, and that’s sad. We’re constantly reminded of bigger and better, but mom and pop get left sitting in the shadows waiting for their turn. In New Orleans, we go out of our way to support the little guy, but sometimes even the little guy has demons to fight that are much more defined than just commerce.
Today I went, and cherry picked the corpse of intelligence when I went to the closing Maple Street Bookshop in New Orleans, Bayou St. John.
It was a grim, quiet event with fellow book nerds clutching their choices while an overwhelming regret hung in the air like a transfixed noose. Meeting the eyes of the clerks was heartbreaking, as the continuous thread of thought was “Why this place?”
We get labels slapped on everything, and the masses are short tuned to enjoy less that isn’t direct access into their personal mainframe, and consume more with banners for some schlocky thing plastered, and at what cost? We grow less human, and more animal. We’re watching and living through a downfall of education at alarming levels, and we’re allowing it to happen, just as long as they DO NOT remove the feedbag.
Again, I ask WHY this place?
So, I walked around in the eerie sense of community as we wanted to build our libraries, and support the ship going down. But, the whole time it felt like we all knew it was just another loss in a fight to remain better than what we read about in the news.
We shouldn’t have to close bookstores – we should be opening more. My six books are a reminder that someone is losing a job, and some books are losing wholesalers, and someone is losing their chance of expanding the dream. And now, as I saddled through the closing little shop with its fine grained wood, and NPR on the radio, I couldn’t help but feeling this overwhelming sense of sadness that the stupids have won again.