Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Fast Times at Barnes & Noble

I worked as a "bookseller" at the Barnes & Noble in downtown Rochester over the holiday season of 1997.

It used to be a movie theatre called the Chateau. I worked the register, or as it was called there, the "cashwrap" area, and stocked books. It didn't pay much, but it was full-time and I got to work with quite a few interesting people. One of my coworkers' name was Guy. It was always weird calling for him across the way when I had a customer who had a question that I couldn't answer. I was like, "Hey, Guy, could you please come over here?". The customers were probably like, "Of course he's a guy. Don't you know his first name?".

On a busy Saturday afternoon, one older man was purchasing a hardcover book as a Christmas present. He asked me to cut off the inside of the book jacket where the price is given. I was like, "Huh?" He said, "Did I stutter? Cut the price off, you Irish bug!" So I got a scissors out and did what I was told (I would have been a great Nazi...jk).

A couple of my coworkers mentioned in passing that Art Garfunkel came to the store from time to time.

They said he was seen at the Mayo Clinic quite frequently for some type of skin issue and he liked to stop in at B&N and get some decent reading material (Mayo was located just a few blocks from the book store).

One evening, I was working with one other guy and stocking books. A guy and his young son headed to the cashwrap. I went behind the counter and checked him out (no, not like that, you dirty devil!). I rang him up and he gave me his credit card. It said Art Garfunkel on it. My wheels started turning. Could it be him? The one who sang "Bridge Over Troubled Water"? One half of the groundbreaking duo, Simon & Garfunkel, that also sang, "Mrs. Robinson" and "The Sound of Silence"? I took a close look at him. He was quite tall (of course who isn't tall next to Paul Simon?). He had a hat on, but the hair I did see was quite curly. I asked for an ID and he showed me his drivers' license. The drivers' license showed him without the hat. He was a bit older than in his 60's heyday, but, damn, it was him alright. I continued with the transaction as if he were just Joe Schmo (I didn't want to make him feel uncomfortable). He then left with his son and a woman (his wife, perhaps). Wow. I was a bit starstruck. I told my coworker what had just occured.

A couple months later, I was no longer working at Barnes & Noble (I was one of the holiday staff they let go in January of '98), but I did enjoy the time I was there, almost 10 years ago.


Mags said...

LOL to the "Is he black?"

I knew a "Guy" once too. It was odd then, and it's still odd. His parents must not be creative.

Skittles said...

That is so cool! All those BOOKS and meeting White Art too!

~*SilverNeurotic*~ said...

Wow, pretty awesome story. I've never had any "celebrity" experiences. Well, I did think I saw the lead singer of the Foo Fighters in a diner once (near to where he lives in VA) but I don't know for sure if it was him.

BTW, I have a cousin named Guy. His dad was the type of dad that would name his kid Guy for a good laugh.

Rocketstar said...

That was great, I laughed out loud!

We once stole porn form our local Barnes and Noble when in Junior high.


mist1 said...

Art Garfunkel isn't black? Next you're going to tell me that Abraham Lincoln wasn't black either.