The parking lot is full. Not a single car is parked within the yellow lines that mark the parking spaces. Most are sedans, parked at angles, crossing the yellow line on their left by at least a foot.
A few are close. They're the ones driven by caretakers or younger relatives who pull in, guide elbows, open doors, and then return in an hour or so.
The oversized van from the retirement home doesn't even make the attempt, but drops off and picks up outside of the parking spaces.
I know immediately that it's a Thursday and park in back with no worries that people will see an empty lot and think I'm closed. Cars will be coming and going all day, even if not to the bookstore.
It's the weekly appointment day at the beauty shop next door. The day chosen for its proximity to the weekend--dating back to a time when weekends meant more to the women who pass my door than just church on Sunday, although that counted too. "Sunday best" extending to hair.
They form a steady stream, aided and unaided, almost always arriving early at a quarter of the hour or half hour and entering the beauty shop, where they might get a cut or a color or a perm, but always a wash and a set sprayed to last to the next Thursday.
They're mainly in their 80's, these women who sit under hoods of hair dryers, replicating hairdos from years gone by.
Anachranisms almost. Never buying shampoo from grocery aisles or owning blow dryers or curling irons. An aerosol spray for touch ups the only hair product on their shelves besides combs and a solitary brush that is rarely used.
My mom was one of them. Her weekly appointment was sacrosanct--a line that was not crossed. Vacations were planned around it. Bad weather failed to cancel it. Calendars were followed closely to make sure a holiday didn't fall on it.
A diner of a different sort, ordering "the usual" from her hairdresser every week. Neither her hairdo nor its color changing over the 50 years that I remember. Her hairdresser and standing appointment only once. A dispute over a price increase as I recall. But just as likely, a discomfort with the men who began wandering into the place that was suddenly called a salon instead of a shop. The hairdresser who was suddenly called a stylist. Changes she wasn't ready for.
I watch the women come and go next door from the vantage point of a small bookstore that sometimes feels as out of sync as the weekly appointments.
Some of them venture over after getting permed or set, combed out and sprayed.
They head to the romance section. Ready for the weekend.