Friday, August 24, 2007

Mundane Journeys are worth every step

When you go away, to a place that holds so much emotion and ties, it's a nice idea, when you return to wherever it is you went away from in the first place, to renew your sense of love for the place you're in.

So, with lots of love for LA this week, I know I wanna give props to the city I'm in. An easy way to do that is to hop on your bike or get on your feet and start riding, start walking and start looking: at EVERYTHING around you. The smallest, goofiest, clever-est thing can make my heart race and think, 'dang, that is a reason to live here!'

I bought the book, Mundane Journeys, when I first moved to SF a few years ago, but have peeked into it every once in awhile over the years. It's a simple little book, with simple yet profound observations & advice. Here's a good one, this bookstore is a great reason to appreciate this little city...
Walk, bike or public transit to 227 Church at the intersection of Market. Enter Aardvark Books. Immediately to the right is the cash register. I like to ask independent book store cashiers if the store has any books behind the counter that are not for sale. Tell the person behind the counter that you are looking for the book Dou Dou Flies Away. This book is not for sale. Next, venture down the middle aisle until you come to the gardening section on the right. A friend pointed out to me that most of the book covers in the section are appropriately colored green. Look up and to the left and take note of the dried puffer fish hanging above you.


I appropriately flipped to the bookstore journey because I recently took my own, invented, mundane journey. I was in the paint store buying two tins of my favorite colors, and I noticed a little lobby out the back door. I asked the cashier what it was (their lunch room? emergency exit?) and she told me that was the way to the bookstores up stairs. Well, hello! I wasn't going to pass that up...so, I finally found myself in Vallhalla books (which has absolutely NO links or information on line, that I can find, except for a google map--not good.). Joe, the owner, surrounded by a stack of books on every side of his comfortable chair (you'd expect nothing less) and later, moving over to the couch to have some coffee--the couch, also surrounded on all sides with books. But used book owners are my favorite carnys of all. I could spend HOURS talking to them about the state of the world today! How kids don't read anymore! How first editions just feel and smell different. As do signed copies. And books that have dedications written in them by, not even the author, but someone random. In pencil. Yeah, Joe and I had some gooooood conversation. I've gone back there now two times in as many days. Both days, I found books (you know how you "find" things you don't really need?) for other people. Really fantastic gifts, actually.
Anyway, I stood in this bookstore, two floors up from one of the more intense streets in SF, and listened to the smacking, slapping spastic sound of the floor to ceiling metal blinds over the open window....and, Joe? Well, he didn't even seem to notice.
It truly was my own mundane journey.
Good ole San Francisco. I'm back.

6 comments:

Kaari Marie said...

don't you mean phantastic?

comfies said...

i wanna go there. i think you should write your own special mundane journey book for sure.

Christina said...

i love this story. and i'm so glad your back, you make it special-like for us all.

ashley rose helvey said...

i cant wait to go here... thanks for the tip. love your story

Mama Molly said...

Thankyou for reminding me, how I love these jouneys and miss them.

Ellen said...

See, now that makes me miss show biz. Judy was amazing.