Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Exposed in The Sextion

An old saying likens a horrifying scene to a car wreck, so terrible that one cannot help but stop and watch. 'Tis true, as the backed-up traffic will attest even after the police have moved an accident to the shoulder. The early episodes of "American Idol" purpotedly defend this statement as well, though I have never watched. I suspect this cliche also explains ESPN's constant coverage of Terrell Owens. Hopefully, reporter Ed Werder has just up and moved there by now, if not already hailing from the Dallas area.

Yet, occassionally an environment is so terrible, so painful, so gruesome, that we simply cannot hold our collective gaze upon it.

Borders has a section of books that flies the banners of "Sex" and "Erotica." I do not know the difference and do not care to. The place contains any and every book on sex you could ever stomach - how to, varieties, stories about, picture books, novels, history of, essays on, children's books (gotcha!). I call it "The Sextion," pronounced "sex-shun." The pictures on the covers of these books may fall into the category of soft-core pornography, although I remain unsure where one draws that line. The place is rather unpleasant; while it contains lots of sex, the pictures lead me to believe there is little love. None of us employees enjoy shelving in there, and I argue that it remains a dangerous place for a lusty 22-year old guy to enter. I avoid it when I can and try to remember to pray when I cannot. A real raunchy place. I do not recommend a browse if ever in a book store.

So today, I am walking up to assist at the register when I hear one middle-aged woman say to another, "Well, look who we have here!"

A third woman, kneeling in The Sexion, looks up with a look of utter horror in her face. "Oh no," she groans. "I'm so embarrassed. I'm so embarrassed."

I immediately recognize what has happened, two friends coincidentally stumbling upon a neighbor looking at sex books. Now under normal circumstances, I would linger like a stale fart, finding "work" to do in the area in order to watch the adventure. My long-time readers have read of these moments which include shoplifters, Kris Jenkins, and floor-pissers.

Today, however, my stomach dropped, and I fled. I chose work's boredom because the scene was just that horrible.

I do not know what happened next, although I suspect the two approaching women acted with grace. The one glance I made from the registers revealed the three of them standing in what seemed like easy conversation. Good for them.

In her novel "Beloved," Tony Morrison describes a phenomenon in which events that take place in a certain location never actually leave that location. They are a part of it forever. She calls this "rememory." My mind is too finite to grasp this concept, but I received a glimpse of it today. Everytime I walked past The Sexion, the scene remained. Seared into my mind, it greeted me everytime I drew nigh.

A few hours later, this oppressive fog of awkwardness seemed to have dissipated, and I returned to investigate the scene. When exposed, the customer was either browsing through "Guide to Getting It On!" by Paul Joannides and Daerick Gross, "Sex for Dummies" by Ruth K. Westheimer and Pierre A. Lehu, or a book about 101 nights of great sex except the word "great" had, like, six r's.

Oh, the horror, the horror.

What that woman hoped to accomplish in The Sexion, I do not know. Despite the stigma associated with the area, her motivations may have been noble. After all, Valentine's Day assaults the American public tomorrow. Still, she wallowed in utter embarrassment at that moment and probably still feels it right now. In moments like these, we have no choice but to come clean and try to look on the bright side of things.

At least she wasn't wearing a diaper.


Jeff said...

that's great.
watch out, bumphries, you're next.

Jenn Pappa said...

oh i felt sooo awkward until i read the diaper comment

and then i busted out laughing

go astronauts go

Oakley said...

I love how everyone acts like a bunch of old Nuns when the topic of sex comes up. I also loved the picture of Josh Mcsoberts, very clever. Too bad the Heels can't get their act together when they play the Hokies. Next time i come to Charlotte I may have to pay a visit to the famous Borders Sextion.......and make sure your coworkers know i'm one of your friends.

Ben said...

Oak, Lillian would be SO disappointed in me!