Sunday was quite a full day of volleyball. A reffing clinic around noon, then dropping in to Intermediate 1 (I figured I’d have a good shot, since lots of people would be away for the long weekend), then my usual Intermediate 2 play. There was also a beginner reffing clinic between I1 and I2; I’d already taken it, so it gave me a chance to go grab a bite to eat.
I went to that little muffin/snack place, corner of Alma and 4th Ave, realised I didn’t have enough cash, and went looking for a bank machine. On an impulse, even though it was dark and drizzling, I decided to wander up 4th and after a block or two came upon Banyen Books. Wow. Now there’s a name that was totally not on my mind. I’d only been there once or twice probably ten years ago, when I was still in my kinda-paganish phase. To buy a copy of the Tao Te Ching, if I recall. Wait, no, it was to buy a copy of The Complete Book of Tai Chi Chuan, as recommended by my then-teacher, and I bought the TTC on my own because Taoism appealed to me. Ah, memories! So, I couldn’t resist: since I still had some time to kill, I went in to browse.
It was just as I remembered it. I’m pretty sure it used to be in another location, so the layout was probably different, not that that mattered much. And I remember they used to have one of those little fountains, the kind that always makes me want to pee, but didn’t this weekend, thank gawd. But everything else? Exactly. The. Same. Incense, soft music, the promise of magic and revelation in every Tarot deck and $50 crystal. I wandered the shelves of books on dream analysis and cosmic science and Celtic Goddess worship and all sorts of weird esoteric topics I’d never even heard of. So many fluffy morsels for people who’ll believe anything that feels good, people hungrily seeking something they can’t even name and wouldn’t recognize if they found it.
Truth is, I could feel faint echoes of the same yearnings inside me. There was a time when I too was a seeker, sort of. After dropping Catholicism, I looked for answers or at least wisdom in mythologies both old and new to replace beliefs that hadn’t appealed to me in a long time. I didn’t put much effort into it because I never felt that the spiritualities I absorbed were really what I needed. Nowadays, of course, I tend to trust my own judgment and revel in my skepticism. I don’t need faiths, spiritualities to make me complete or hand me The Truth.
Still, I have… moments of weakness. Now, in one corner of the store (next to handsome leatherbound Books of Shadows) were a few racks of sketchpads and notepads, all with very pretty covers. I was seriously tempted to get one. I hadn’t done any drawing in a long time, and I thought it might inspire me. Or at least push me to practice regularly, cos Gawd knows I need the practice. But really, wasn’t that more magical thinking? If they’re anywhere, the talent and the potential are in myself. Not some object I shelled out $24.95 + tax for, no matter how pretty it is.
So I left without getting anything, and went back to the gym to sweat off half my body weight. On the way home I bought a pad of unlined paper at Safeway for a couple of bucks, on which I’ve been doodling since.