Sunday, August 29, 2010

First Officer's Log No 13: Books and Cats, What More Does One Need?

This past week has given us the return of the student body of Iowa City. In that week, we've seen a lot of old, familiar faces, and a whole host of new ones. I like this time of year because it brings people to the shop who might not otherwise venture into the Northside neighborhood, shows them that there are two nifty bookstores on our side of town (Murphy Brookfield is right down the block on Gilbert Street), plus a fantastic knitting store next door, a cool record shop in the same storefront as the bookshop, and a cozy coffee place across the street. Also, we have cats.

Yes. Cats.

Logan and Nierme are our two resident felines, if you haven't met them. The longer haired gray one with white feet is Mr Rambunctious Flying Dingo Baby, also known as Logan. The short haired dilute tortiseshell is Nierme, our shyer, slightly more introverted cat.

One of the great things that the cats do is make people feel welcome. Logan lurks by the door, ready to greet everyone who comes inside with a playful 'meow' and the thunderous impact of his scampering feet as he bolts from one side of the shop to the other. Nierme is content to linger behind the counter, and sometimes fixate on one or two people, mewing contentedly as she follows them around; other times, she hides behind the counter, chilling out with the boss and me, waiting for familiar people.

The cats do wonders for people's moods, and make them happy. A lot of the apartments in Iowa City don't allow pets, so when people require a kitty fix, they come to us. Sometimes they just come in and play with a cat for awhile, and other times they follow one of the cats to a section and find a book. All in all, it's good times all around.

Morning routine around here before we open the doors is pretty good, too. On Sundays, when it's just me, I open the door, walk in, and see Logan, sitting there, waiting for me to arrive so he can complain loudly about not being fed. So I walk in, lock the door behind me, drop my bag behind the counter and walk back to the stage, where Nierme is waiting patiently, offering a tiny mew in exchange for breakfast. After feeding them, sometimes it's necessary to just kick back and watch them, before scooping one up to snuggle it.

All in all, cats are good, so are books. When they're together, it's all good.

So! if you are wandering by some day and require a book and / or a kitty fix, come on in. Logan and Nierme will be happy to beg for attention and adoration, and Nialle and I can probably help you find a book. See you then!

Until next week, fellow bibliophiles.

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