Wednesday night, on the brink of DC’s surprise snow event, I drove up Connecticut Ave with a friend on an errand. It was one of those errands with multiple components: a package of items that needed to be dropped off at Politics and Prose to include proper marking so the package ended up where it was supposed to, a check, and the items in question.
To make sense of this, you have to understand what Politics and Prose is within the context of DC. P&P is one of the premier independent bookstores in a city full of people who are either super smart or are convinced they are super smart. When you want to tell a first date that you are a smarty-pants who knows the right place to buy a book that supports local businesses, you suggest P&P. If you really want to impress a date with your intellectual acumen, you take them to P&P for a lecture. Within the Beltway, P&P means something.
My mom was born in a house with no indoor plumbing. She died with a decent retirement fund, a doctoral degree, and a paid-for Subaru. I’m not sure there was anything she was more proud of than the distance between her and the now-razed home in a now-reclaimed mining town she was born in. Not just the distance, but the diminished expectations of a miner’s kid from Seebe Alberta compared to everything she achieved. My mom loved going to P&P. There was just so much to enjoy. There was even knowing that P&P existed, there was being able to keep up with the book readings and discussions held there, and there was being confident enough in her knowledge of the city to navigate to P&P on her own.
My companion parked the car across the street, we dodged idling cars to get into P&P, I handed over the package per instructions, and we ducked back out of the store before we could buy every book on the shelf. Once outside, it hit me.
I just dropped off copies of my book to sit on the shelves and be sold at P&P. My mom could have come to P&P and browsed the shelves until she found me.
Did that just happen?
Yes, I think it did.