Monday, October 26, 2009


I'm very fond of second hand/thrift/charity shop/resale/"vintage" clothing stores, & will go out of my way to find interesting food establishments, but there are other kinds of retail places I'm happy to spend time in too. I like stationary stores. Not the boutique kinds with $10 birthday cards & craft supplies, or the Staples model, with endless aisles of garish unattractive nastiness. I like overcrowded office stationers, with stacks of lined office pads in unusual sizes, small but indispensable notebooks in sober colors, serviceable pencil sharpeners (usually German)& perhaps some interesting plain artists' sketchpads. I like boxes of dusty goods that look as though they might have been sitting around since the 1950's. Above all, I like my stationary to have a slightly dreary seriousness of purpose. This makes my purchases seem important. I'm also very fond of neighborhood hardware stores, with their peculiarly distinct odor of fertilizer, paint & cardboard. The best ones always have a selection of sensible kitchen equipment (Corning ware, cast iron pans, coffee pots & salt shakers) & a large collection of seed packets. Bliss. The fact that I'm completely un-handy matters not at all. I like the goods themselves (though most of them are mysterious to me), & the whole business of people buying modest but important products. Leopoldi's is an excellent hardware store in every respect, run by exceptionally kind & friendly people. I always leave there in a good mood.