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I'm pretty bitter this week. If you wonder why, just read the previous posting. That and it's been a generally annoying people kind of week.

There are a group of men (no, this isn't a "man hater" post, I'm just stating fact) who find it difficult to understand that a woman can own a business. And, if they do understand, it's obvious that they believe there is no way that a woman can know how to run a successful business - at which point they start to talk down to me and speaking very slowly, as if I'm blond and/or lip reading or both (maybe those new highlights weren't such a great idea). I refer to this as the "patting on the head" theory. You know, like "ahhhh, there, there, don't worry your pretty little head about this big ole scary business stuff." I was lucky enough to experience the "patting on the head" theory not once but TWICE this week alone. (YAY ME!) The first experience was pretty mundane:

Male Chauvenist Pig #1 (MCP #1): I need to speak to the owner.
ME: That's me.
MCP #1: (look of surprise) OH...

Now I ax you, why would his first assumption be that I was not the owner? Could it be the pigtails I was sporting with the red ribbons wrapped around each one? The micro-mini skirt with the 6-inch stilleto-heeled vinyl thigh-high boots? The Mickey Mouse lollipop as big as my face? The "How to be a Teenage Girl in 2006" I was reading? OF COURSE NOT BECAUSE NONE OF THOSE THINGS WERE HAPPENING. It just so happened that he assumed that I wasn't the owner because I have boobs and, er, a vag... well, you get the point. Let's move on to case #2. Here's some background:

MCP#2 leaves a free publication in our bookstore. I'm not really crazy about it - it has some alternative stuff that I'm not really into, but whatever. He brings in the new monthly publication today.

MCP#2: I usually talk to your husband.
ME: Huh.
MCP#2: We can print free blurbs in the publication if you have writers in, etc.
ME: Yeah, we have one coming up soon. Can I have your card?
MCP#2: (very frustrated) I gave it to your husband.
ME: (disbelief) There are a million people that come in here everyday. I would like your card.
MCP#2: (grumbles) I guess I can go to the car and get another one.
ME: *blink*blink*blink*
(MCP#2 returns from car, unfortunately)
MCP#2: What do you want to be known for?
ME: Excuse me? (by now I've lost interest and I'm working on the computer and not even looking at him)
SIDE NOTE: Notice head patting theory demonstrated above.
ME: Uh, books?
MCP#2: No, you have to be known for something.
ME: Yeah, books.
MCP#2: (extremely frustrated and speaking very slowly): You know. Some places want to be known for comic books.
ME: We're not a comic book store, we're a book store. *blink*blink*blink*
MCP#2: (frustrated and changes subject) We have a special advertising...
ME: (cuts him off) yeah, my husband told me about it.
ME: Yeah, well, we won't be advertising with you.
MCP#2: (slides publication across counter) Have a nice day. (abruptly leaves)
ME: *throws away 15 free publications left in my store and shreds his business card*

Heh, heh, heh, being the boss is such sweet revenge, even when you're a woman.

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You know when you've worked a really long hard day/week and you just want to kick back on the couch in the comfort of your own home and enjoy a cold *beverage* and maybe some back episodes of The Closer that you've been meaning to catch up on? Well, good for you. I have no idea what that feels like. Instead, I've been sitting on my cushionless cat pee couch, looking at the the water pooling for some unknown reason under my dining room windows and laundry room sink (yes it was WATER), using my broken, buttonless garage door opener that now takes electrician-level wiring before it will work in a bathroom where half of the electrical outlets don't work.

And that was all just this week by Wednesday.

I need a cherry turnover...

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It's funny (and by funny I don't mean ha ha funny, I mean strange, bordering on institutionalization funny) what people will tell you when you can't, say, run away as fast as you can screaming at the top of your lungs and flailing your arms about.

When you're stuck at a bookstore for 80 hours per week, people tend to tell you things that
a. you'd rather not hear, or
b. you really don't care about
(and sometimes both at the same time)

For example, take the guy who, five minutes before closing after a very, very long week, found the need to quiz me with definitions of words and when I was too tired to answer (or care), he left disgusted with "And I bet you went to college" as his parting comment.

Or what about the guy who held me captive (and the only reason it was legal was because I had the key to the store and, in theory, could lock him out and/or call the police) for 10 minutes so that he could tell me that slavery was really BS and that "they" could've walked away at any time (his words/beliefs, not mine). Hey, I was just innocently pricing T-shirts that made absolutely no political statement that should've triggered this barrage. In his defense, he did tell me as he was leaving that he just got out of the hospital and had more painkillers in him than I would believe. So, maybe he was delusional, thinking that he was, let's say, HITLER.

There are others: the girl who offered to give free massages at my store (so MUCH more to that story that I may have to create another posting), the people who offer to "volunteer" here (of whom I'm ALWAYS suspicious, you've been forewarned), the people who LOUDLY state their political beliefs and then become frustrated when I won't engage (like a political vault, this one right here), and on and on until you reach the pinnacle of emotional and physical exhaustion.

Anyway, what was I saying? Please deposit another 25-cents...

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Every year we have a "friends" Thanksgiving - all of our friends come to our house as to avoid the "Aunt Mary's" of the world commenting on weight gain, relationship or job status, and/or to avoid being asked, yet again, if you are having any kids.

ANYWAY, My friend Kia (nickname used here to protect individual and preserve sanctity of friendship) already made her flight plans. Apparently, she had put me on the email list from the airline to receive a copy of her itinerary. In the comments section she wrote, "your official pie maker will be there for Thanksgiving." I immediately hit reply and then proceeded to express genuine excitement about her visit. I closed the email with a ususal sarcastic comment. This one just happened to be: "Heh, heh...you said 'pie'."

Here is the message I received the next morning...

...from NORTHWEST AIRLINES (yep, I had replied to the airline and not to my friend with the 'pie' comment):

"Thank you for contacting Northwest Airline's customer service department. We believe that you have replied to us in error. Please do not reply to this email again. If you wish to contact customer service about an airline issue, please do so at..."

Hm...I guess they really don't have a sense of humor (or, maybe they were just upset that they weren't invited to Thanksgiving for said pie).

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So I put REM in the music rotation at the store. All fine and good until Michael Stipe screamed "*insert profanity* OFF" in one of his songs while a grandmother and her two grandsons were in here. I had been singing in my head (almost like talking to the voices in my head except to music) and realized it about 1 millisecond before he said it. That 1 millisecond was in slow motion for about 4 days.

I guess you should expect this kind of day when you start off stepping in cat vomit at 7 a.m.

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(employee looking down at your order) "EW GROSS!"
(window snaps shut briefly)
(window re-opens, smile plastered on face of employee)
"Thank you, have a great day!"

Disclaimer: That this post was written exactly one day after the "cherry turnover incident" is completely coincidental. I absolve anyone in the fast food or gas station industry for being responsible for my ability to fit (or not fit) into my fat jeans.

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Life in the little city continues:
Every morning on my way to the bookstore I stop at the gas station. You know, the ones that have everything you need - groceries, pastries, pizza/sandwiches, sodas, etc. Every morning I get a big 32 oz. diet coke and once or twice a week I get cherry turnovers. (I know it sounds weird, but they have KILLER cherry turnovers. For all of you who are going to comment on my diet Coke with cherry turnovers...well, just don't). Checking out this morning, banter ensued:

Bitter Woman Behind Counter (BWBC): "You know, you're going to turn into a cherry turnover."
ME: "Ya think?" (I'm quite the morning conversationalist)
BWBC: "When your fat jeans don't fit anymore don't come in here complaining to me because you ate too many cherry turnovers."
ME: ...
ME: ...
ME: ...

I had NO witty retort (And I HATE when that happens - I blame it on the morning). I'm here to tell BWBC:
I have plenty of FAT JEANS and they fit me just fine, thank you very much.
(How you gonna act now???)

Just think of it this way:
I'm a little like Tom Cruise in Cocktail. Instead of always having some sort of self-help/entrepreneurial book behind the counter, I always have a cherry turnover.

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We have used books at our store. This means that they undergo a rigorous cleaning process (namely, me picking off the old price tags with the nub of a fingernail I have left). I always find interesting stuff in the books that people trade in: old bookmarks, postcards, love letters, etc. The most interesting one came today.

(The book was from 1978, which will give you some frame of reference.)

There was a coupon:

"Back-to-school valuable coupon. New Super Plus 10's Tampax Tampons for .49 - originally .59 - limit 1 with coupon."

Now - the "back-to-school" part was funny enough. When I was in the back-to-school mode, I never remember saying to my parents, "I need four red folders, those Jordache jeans and a box of tampons."

The best part? This coupon for tampons was being used as a bookmark in a book called I'm Eve - the autobiography of the woman who had 22 different personalities!

Got a really good chuckle out of that irony. For some reason I'm really craving chocolate right now...

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My bookstore is right across the water from Canada. There's a ferry and we get lots of ferry traffic driving by our store - which means Canadian traffic.

A woman was checking out the other day, when she said (in a great French accent): Can you please tell me how to get to Dee-Twa? (I'm having a hard enough time with the nasally Northern Michigan accent, let alone French Canadian).

It took me a second and then I had to laugh - AT MYSELF, of course. I then explained to the woman how to get to DETROIT. However, from that day forward, I dubbed Detroit Dee-Twa (and made all of my friends say it that way). It sounds SO MUCH better (and honestly, I think it is the answer to the economy problems here. If only people here would pronounce it Dee-Twa many of our problems would be solved).

Next I'm making a major push for the old way of saying phone numbers. You know, like PR549 or Rochester 8226. That's not catching on as well as Dee-Twa, but I'm hopeful. After that, it's a JackiePalooza for the city and then I'm queen of the world!

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Owning a bookstore is a riot. I could fill up pages and pages of this blog everyday with stories from owning an independent bookstore in a small town. However, since I live in a town that is roughly the size of Mayberry (yes, the Aunt Bea & Andy Mayberry), I'll refrain from telling you many of the stories. But this is one that I have to share.

Customer: "Do YOU read everything that you have in your store."
ME: -looks around at the thousands of books in our store- "Uh, no. I read alot, but I can't say that I've come close to reading everything in here."
Customer: "WELL, (insert name of bookstore in another city) reads EVERYTHING in her store before she puts it out."
ME: "Well, I have another job." (as if being a writer is REALLY like having another job)

Yep, that was my best defense - and I REALLY DID feel the need to defend myself. I felt like a lesser bookstore owner for not having ready every book in my store.

Sheesh. I need to get out more.