Yesterday morning Louie and I were working in the front of store. He was moving and remerchandising DVDs and CDs, I was attempting to make some sense of the tables that were still nominally bookcentric. Louie and I, while outwardly very different--he's young, tattooed, physically fit and uber-hip and I'm, well, not--share a work ethic; consequently, we both had our heads down, working away, trying to make it all nice.
It was extraordinarily depressing.
We were going about our work, fixing displays and making signs, when it struck me. Our job has become like that of caregivers in a hospice or cancer ward, but one with just one giant patient: the store. Every day the patient gets sicker. It contracts in upon itself, pieces fall off, and it's constantly being invaded by new and ever more terrifying germs. The patient is terminal, we all know the patient is terminal, and there's nothing we can do about it. There's not even any way to provide much in the way of comfort, like a morphine drip or a cool cloth to the forehead might at least temporarily ease the suffering of a dying person. All we can do is attempt to pick up the pieces as they fall off and make sure they're more or less properly disposed of.
And, as is often the case when a terminally ill patient is finally given the surcease of suffering that death brings, it will be a relief when Borders finally dies. We'll mourn, but then we'll move on. That day can't come soon enough for this caregiver.
1 month ago