This morning as sit in my humble apartment with thrown-together furniture. I begin to think it’s time I went for a drive. Not a normal drive to get things done. I’m not on my way somewhere (say for example, to buy groceries) and the drive is the process in between me and my destination. Today I’m on more of an adventurous exploit. I consider myself an urban explorer. My motorcycle as my battle-scarred sword wading through the leaves of trial and mystery.
I’m on a mission to look for second-hand, antique, worn-out, dusty stores. The kind of places where they still sell creased vinyls and you spot the withered chain-smoking lady who grins at you for the first minute, and then ploughs back into her Mills & Boon. Some stores are in neat, clean, radio-friendly malls. They have crisp advertisements that bounce into your field of view, coupled with cheshire-induced salesmen who greet you at the door.
I want the opposite. I need an adventure. I want to be weaving through three suburbs before I find my burnout bookstore. Perhaps half my problem is I’m a poet looking for a sense of personality in the architecture, rather than a marketed allure of value.
Yesterday I found such a secondhand bookstore, to be honest. The shelves were only half the width of the size of the books and as a result the books kept falling off the shelf (every odd hour). The labels read Mystery, Crime, or Action and were written and stuck there probably a decade ago. The ink have taken it’s toll on the paper and began to explore other avenues and veins in the paper, giving the edges of each word a barbed look.
I stood around browsing the store. While I waited for the old man (who was there a few minutes before me) to finish his arduous story with the store clerk. I didn’t buy anything. I simply browsed to get a feel for the selection of titles there. Most of the time I inwardly judge a bookstore buy the amount of volumes of poetry they have…or whether they keep the cheap-easy pulp fiction. If they have decided to keep a spread of Picador and prize-winning titles, I become jealous of not being a sort of sprite that stalks the aisles and bathes in the unvarnished glow of ideas and accomplishments.
This place was more about the cheap-easy, regrettably. Before I discredit them they did have two Salman Rushdie, and around two dozen classics coupled with poetry. I’m a snob like that. I do realize avant-garde titles which make you think, don’t beckon the general public to tear them off the shelves. I think by now I have made peace with that.
I trust you’ll forgive me cutting this post sort, as I jump on that polished, mechanical-animal waiting for me outside; not to mention the oddities and misfits surviving their quaint existence.