They Grew Up So Nice

Josie Leavitt - May 7, 2012

Saturday night I had a wonderful time at Domino’s Pizza waiting for too long for my personal-size pizza. I had a comedy gig that ended just past 10 and I was starving and knew there was precious little food at home. So, I stopped by Domino’s for what I thought would be quick take-out.
It was not quick, but I didn’t mind when I saw who I would be waiting with: three 17-year-old customers, all boys, somewhat slumped in their chairs. I knew them all. They have been shopping with their parents since the first year we opened. So, I’ve seen these young men grow from 3-year-olds to 17-year-olds who talked about what colleges they want to apply to, why they skipped the prom (which was that night), and how much fun it was to be able to drive. It’s so interesting to be part of a kid’s life for so long. It always rattles me a little bit when a kid comes in for the first time in a while and they’re swinging car keys and texting their parents to see just how much they can spend at the bookstore.
They were customers, they still are, but as they explained, “We’re juniors now, and don’t have time to just read.” There was something so adorable about these young men alternating between discussing books, colleges and girls and memories of the Flying Pig.  All three, Paul, Raph, and David, had been near constant shoppers until high school started. Then we lost them, almost like dominoes as they progressed through high school.
What surprised and saddened me was that all three guys seemed genuinely sad that their days of pleasure reading had been so shortened by the ever-increasing work load of high school. They all remembered coming to the bookstore for just about every Harry Potter release party. These kids were waxing nostalgic for the bookstore and that made me happy. It reminded me that while I may not see them much anymore, the bookstore is still part of their lives. Paul asked, “When do I get to read what I want to read?” Well, I hedged, knowing full well that college is not really a time when pleasure reading is easy to fit in. I said, “I read a lot on vacation and during the summer.”
All our pizzas were ready at the same time. I kicked into “mom mode” and cautioned them not to eat the pizza during the ride for fear of burning their mouths. As I was pulling out of the parking lot I heard one of them exclaiming through the burnt roof of his mouth, “Damn, that’s hot.” They all laughed and I smiled as I drove away, patting my steaming hot pizza, which remained untouched until I got home.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *