Right around my birthday, I was in Borders for one of my many book runs thanks to the generous gifts of my family and friends. While I was puttering around the romance section to look for a couple of authors' new books, I heard these two teenie-boppers (or maybe they were college pukes--give me a kid, and I suddenly lose all perspective on age and general categorization skills) come up to the romance section saying something along the lines of "Gah, who would ever read romance?" I wanted to turn around and say something quippy or biting or ironic or witty or whatever. Instead, I just ignored their general rudeness (I mean, you're welcome to have whatever opinion of any genre, but is it too much to ask that you have the class NOT to deride groups of readers when you're standing right in front of a member of said group?) and went about my business. Sometimes I am way too nice.
It got me thinking, though. Comments like that usually roll right off my shoulders. I've developed some decently thick skin during my four years of critiques. So why did this one bother me? Oddly, I have my critique group to blame. Sometime over the four years of meeting every Tuesday (or every other Tuesday, as we did for a bit), that particular store has come to have a feeling of home for me. Everything from the color schemes to the basic layout to the neon sign hanging over the door. I walk into that store, and everything feels comfortable, like I'm visiting with relatives. It's a little strange. Other stores feel stuffy or overcrowded, like I'm in a rich person's house, and the idea of leaving an imprint of my ass on one of the chairs makes me uncomfortable.
But I suppose that just spending every Tuesday night in a bookstore doesn't give me the right to rail at a couple of idiots. It may feel like home, but it's not.