|My Happy Place: Hodges Figgis in Dublin|
I was walking down Bukit Timah this morning in a dismal downpour when it hit me. Not that I was going to get wet...well maybe that too. I had an umbrella but in Singapore that's irrelevant. If it rains, umbrella or no umbrella, you're going to get wet. My aha moment was simply this: there are no bookshops here like the one pictured above. When I lived in Dublin, Hodges Figgis on Dawson Street was hands down my favorite haunt. My Irish expat friends here think I'm joking when I tell them I'm half-Irish. But my affinity with the poetry, literature, sense of humor, can't be a fluke. I was just born in Italy but really I'm Irish. I can vividly recall the creamy top of a guinness with soup and soda bread in a pub on a rainy day after classes...but I digress.
I sometimes worry that there just aren't enough bookshops in Singapore. That's what's missing. Or better, there are bookstores but not bookshops and there is a difference. Maybe I should just open one. My imaginary bookshop would be awesome. As cozy and inviting as Hodges Figgis. Poetry readings, free coffee, comfortable armchairs. Maybe even fresh muffins. Helpful assistants with an Irish accent-too much? Would I make a lot of money? Probably not. But I knew that from the get-go. Majoring in philosophy at Vassar was kind of a clue. On the first day of class, our professor told us: "I guess you already know there's no money in Philosophy. If you were interested in that you'd be down the hall studying Economics."