I guess it's all the trees around here.
All week I've been editing and writing, writing and editing. After a few days, the mental body is bled white of attention and needs repose, inaction.
So, as usual, I concocted an excuse and hopped in the car. It was more about driving on a sunny Saturday afternoon listening to the Pixies loudly than about shopping.
See HERE for the excuse -- holy horsepills. I'm keeping them as noseplugs.
Hopefully the same company doesn't manufacture suppositories.
My town is small, and it didn't take me long to get where I was going. Never even got to Monkey Gone to Heaven.
At the bookstore, after having been browsing for only a few minutes, I looked up and thought, What the 'colourful colloquialism' am I doing?
At home, I edit books all week. Then, when I have the time, I write for myself. After that I flirt with twitter and bat my eyelashes at people in writing forums, visit Goodreads, write emails.... Words and books. Books and words. Editing and writing. Writing and editing. Paper dolls of ideas hooked together page to page.
Then when I need to get away from it all, I go to the expletive bookstore....
Up one rabbit hole and down another.
So I got out of there and went to another bookstore.
It amuses me that the little corner book shop that sells magazines and local literature has a rotating rack of 50 Shades of Gray. The rest of the shop is quaint, family-oriented. Right next to the spindle of erotica is a huge display of spritely stuffed animals.
I caught the eye of a kid right after I caught him on his tip-toes to sneak a better look at the plastic-wrapped magazines on the top shelf. A grin there. He scurried off.
Used to be that I'd come home from university and I'd be able to tell who was also coming home from away by what they were wearing. It was easy. People in my town were about five years behind the popular fashion trends of the rest of the country.
Today, I realized this was no longer the case, and I lamented that the outside world had found us, that we'd greedily snatched up all the shiny beads we could carry. After all, isolation breeds diversity, identity.
Quick on the heels of that thought I realized that I've been in the province going on five years. Maybe it was still the case that we were behind the rest of the country, and I was now five years out of date myself....
A bit of a gangly hope, that one.
Fleeing the mall, I saw a sign in the parking lot that read "Reserved Parking," with an arrow pointing down a lane. I followed the arrow and, when I got to the back, was very amused to see that the reserved parking was a large unpaved square, dusty and rutted.
It's been said that it's great that I can make money doing something I love - sorta - and, obviously, gravitating towards books in public when I'm trying to escape books at home gives credence to this point. But, to make a fine distinction about it, I would have to compare it to a doctor who's always been a fan of the human form. It might be what he loves, but most of the time he only sees the human form when something's terribly wrong with it. He then has to cut it open and try not to lose his wristwatch inside.
The avacados in the grocery store were actually not rotten unlike the store downtown where fruit flies flitter nonchalantly around the bin. My people are not known for their great love of strange fruits and vegetables. But roll a potato through a crowded room and watch as fights break out.
Strolling near the frozen meats, I decided that I was now old. I had a new benchmark for comparison.
With school having started, there's many young people around, and I can no longer distinguish between kids of college age and kids in junior high. Sometimes when I go out for gentlemanly libations and get dragged to sports bars and dance clubs, I think the young folk I see with their beers and umbrella drinks would look more appropriate holding Pokemons and Barbies.
I passed a blonde girl of perhaps eighteen, shopping with her cell phone to her ear. I thought, Typical.
Bear with me. I'm building to some semblance of a point.
In line for the express cashier, the line wasn't moving, very expressly not moving. A kerfuffle was afoot about the price of an item. Calls were being made for the secret knowledge of special grocery sages, the cashier's face a tapestry of ignorance and apology.
I drifted back and forth to find an express-er cashier, and finding none, floated back to the line I'd left to find two young gentlemen had supplanted my place in line. Fine. That's fine. I left. All is fair.
I couldn't tell how old those guys were either, but for one of them, at least, I could tell his future.
In five years time, young man, you shall become bloated with beer, sodas, and bad eating habits. To hide your baby face -- like the baby head from Toy Story with the crab legs and cyborg eye -- atop your man's body -- and really he did look like he'd attached the Gerber Baby's head to a grown man's body, I can't emphasize that enough -- you will grow a goatee, and wear a silver chain around your neck as a sign of your ascension into manhood. You will then wear your shirt-neck open so everybody may gaze upon it and marvel.
So it is written....
Then an employee was ahead of me in line, apparently taking her break, and joking with our cashier, lingering for laughter.
Then the same girl who had been talking on her cell phone five minutes earlier got in line behind me, still talking on her cell phone. And I thought, Typical.
I found I was a little mad at the cashiers and their fraternizing, and at the girl behind me talking on her phone. Why can't you take that thing away from your head for five minutes?
And then, for the second time, I thought, What the 'colourful colloquialism' am I doing?
Firstly, I was vexing towards this girl on her cell phone. Meanwhile, the entire day I'd been slicing snapshots out of life, mentally saving them, sifting and sorting them, and adding clever captioning and dialogue, meaning to feed them to twitter or blogs or forums -- or merely to the moving scrapbook that is any piece of literature.
In fact, I couldn't go twelve seconds -- to choose an arbitrary number -- without picking up people by their lapels, shaking them to see if any interesting words would fall out, and placing them gently into my artistic picnic basket for later.
For you tech geeks, think of that as my rudimentary meatspace sandbox. Human 1.0.
Though I was not physically connected to my vices and devices, I nonetheless was carrying them with me. My proclivities had become as much as part of the functionality of the software as the actual written code.
Annoying girl with the cell phone, you and I are one.
Secondly, I had ire for the people ahead of me in line, as if they didn't have enough problems with having to wear beige uniforms all day.
I guess, almost as a bi-product of my first point: with technology, we're used to being able to control our worlds -- or at least the perception of our worlds -- in ways we were never able before. This applies doubly for those heavily invested in social media.
If I want to be amused, if I want to be maudlin, if I want ... anything -- or if I want the things that bother me -- politicians, rocks stars, advertisements -- if I want them to cease, I can make them stop existing in my immediate cone of attention.
Going out in the world, this no longer applies, and frustration is the response that gets triggered when immediacy is not allowed. One has to actually put up with what is happening in the functional, physical world of interacting people made of squishy bits, teeth, bones, and toenails.
Take a deep breath there.
Often, I think brains need enemas, or at least an accessible and safe RESET button.
I let the cell phone girl continue her so-very-important conversation. I laughed along with the socially apt cashier. This new-model monkey then went home to dinner.