I’m starting to realize that I’m not a very good minimalist. I really want to be, but I have a lot of junk that I don’t want to get rid of. Like the polaroid camera and the typewriter that I got off of Craigslist. Or the old steel wheel from my bike, or all the notebooks I’ve collected over the years, mostly half empty and going back as far as my first semester at BCIT.
And I have so many books. I’m a serial-book-buyer. I love having them, and though I read a lot of them, there are stacks of books in the ‘to-be-read’ pile and maybe even more in the ‘started-but-never-finished’ pile. I have an especially serious issue buying books on philosophy, starting them, not understanding anything, and putting them away ‘to be finished later’ which so far generally means never.
But lately I’ve found that I’m not interested in anything. I haven’t found a good story in ages and I’m reading too much non-fiction. I think it’s making me crazy. All the stories I’m getting are from Netflix and that can’t be good. There are theories out there about television being a sort of anti-creativity, sucking the creative forces out of people and though I don’t know how accurate that is, it could help explain my writer’s block.
I went to visit my favourite bookstore this afternoon, Paperhound, which is downtown on Pender. They always have a little cart outside with one or two-dollar books and today I snagged a Kapuscinski. I couldn’t believe it, he’s probably my favourite writer–a (dead) Polish journalist who travelled all over the world reporting during the Cold War. I first got into him through The Shadow of the Sun and Shah of Shahs which are both great books, one about the last Shah of Iran and the other about his travels in Africa throughout his life.
I’ve picked up a lot of books off discount carts, and honestly, I’ve hardly finished a single one. But I’ll keep looking through them because once in a while you find a freaking Kapuscinski! What a great day.
One day I’d love to run a bookstore. Or maybe a little cafe. It’d be tiny, and I’d have all these great regulars who would come in, and sometimes we’d get a tourist who wouldn’t instinctively understand how we do things at the cafe and I’d just be really sassy towards him. We’d have a mix of online reviews, mostly positive, but a few would be really negative.
‘The old guy who made my coffee was such an asshole. I don’t know how he got the job. He made fun of my drink order to another customer, wouldn’t change the music when I asked (and it was awful, just a loop that sounded really freaky, like some really spooky shit, I’m not joking), scoffed when I gave him tips about how to make the perfect latte (you have to be able to take a critique in this business) and just gave me a ton of attitude. Would not recommend.’
‘What a dick! I went into Mark’s Cafe today and I can’t believe the way I was treated. First thing he does when I walk in is laugh in my face. He said, ‘Grown men don’t wear shorts.’ Okay buddy, it’s like thirty degrees out and I’ll wear whatever I want. Then he made fun of my shirt. When I asked for an iced coffee he sighed and took forever to get up off his stool. I paid with a credit card and when he pulled out the receipt he said, ‘What, no tip?’ No, I’m not tipping you for terrible service.
The ice coffee was really good though. Maybe one of the best I’ve ever had.’
That’s the dream.