Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Trading at Arkadia

It was that magical time again. I had amassed enough books to trade at Arkadia. My heart was sweeping with an unaccustomed joy.

I know this is a super dorky thing to get excited about, but it's one of the small things I take absolute pleasure in. Call it what you will, but I'll take it where I can get it.

Can you believe that since the last time I traded I'd read 8 books? Apparently I consume books like normal people consume...well, other things. I'm not even really sure what I would compare that to. Movies? Chocolate bars? The occasional illegal Cuban cigar? Readers, what do you consume for your personal enjoyment on a regular basis?

Anyway, I'd done my due diligence and it was now time to trade. How did I know? I'd run out of shelf space for the books I'd read. That's my gauge. I have a designated shelf for books that I've read, and it had become full. Which is sort of a mystery in it of itself because 1) I had had to leave one of the books I'd finished back in the States last time I was there because I finished it while on the plane 2) I recently had to place my scrimshaw materials on the same shelf because I was hosting a party at my place so there is in fact, less space on that shelf and 3) the very rare and momentous occasion has happened where I have actually wanted to keep one of the books I've read.

This only happens once, maybe twice, a year. As I think I've explained before, only maybe 5-10% of books I read make it to the permanent shelf. And one of the 8 I read this time, actually made it. What was it, you ask? What book might be named my, "Book of Year"? Well, the runner-up so far is my first ever Salman Rushdie book, The Enchantress of Florence.

I know I know, righteously easy pick, right?

Actually this one took me a bit by surprise. Having never read Rushdie until this moment (call it a flaw in selection), I kind of shun most authors that are otherwise known for their "powerful"/"masterful" writing. I find it pretentious. I like finding the undiscovered, strangely obscure writers. The ones that speak to me on their own, not because masses of people think they're great.

So it was with quite an effort that I agreed. But it's true; he is indeed a great writer. And I can respect something good when I see it.

This book was also difficult to get through. Not because it's hard to read (because it's deliciously smooth and coherent), more that, unlike the rest of the books I read...it wasn't the right book at the right time. But I didn't care...I wanted to read this book so much that I forced myself through it. And that's not something I do almost ever.

And that's why it's being kept. My mind hasn't made itself up as to what I want to do with it. And so I'll wait to see.

Anyway, that was a long side tangent.

Back to trading.

Having noticed the abrupt change in weather by the pounding in my head and the nausea that gripped me steadily over several hours at work (my body doesn't like changes in weather - apparently it's something to do with the changes in atmospheric pressure...I'm not kidding, it's stupid sensitive like that, even on the daily medications I take), I left work early one day to find solace at my favorite place: Arkadia.

As I skipped past the gravel (the sidewalks out front were being redone) and stepped inside, I felt the rush of warmth of being in a place where time ceased to exist. Where I could lose myself and feel nothing but the peace of adventure and escape. I was home.

As has become my custom, I went directly to their alphabetized shelves and searched for a book I've been looking for for the past few months. You see; there is one particular book I am looking for, for someone in particular. And this time, unlike the other times I've looked and dejectedly turned away, not finding it..it was there, sitting, waiting for me, as I knew it one day would be.

I know it's silly to think that inanimate objects come to you, but this is something I strongly believe in when it comes to books. I believe books find people. The right book will find you at the right time. You may not know it, but they have ways of finding people who are open to them. And I wanted to find this book. In a world where nothing in particular is certain, where everything could rely on chance (for example, someone bringing in that particular book into that particular store, in that particular language)...I knew it would happen.

And it did.

I held it up triumphantly and shouted to the owner that I had finally found it, that it had arrived, that it was here. I had told him about it weeks ago, and he took a picture of me with my prize. He was happy for me; he agrees with me that books have their ways of finding people, and he was happy mine had found me.

Someone very lucky will be getting their book very soon. I hope they appreciate what the universe has brought forth.

After the exhilaration of my find, I perused. I could only do so for about 35 minutes though, because unfortunately I was on a schedule. Three other books found me that day. Pretty decent I'd say.

At this point I put my books on hold and rushed back home to get my 6 (remember, one was left in the States and the other was confusingly being kept) to trade. Luckily the owners knew me well enough to wait for me; there was going to be a concert starting soon (their event for the night), so I tried to rush as fast as I could.

The trade was my 6 books for the 4 I had found plus 2euros. One hardback and three paperbacks. What a steal! These trades are getting monetarily better and better. Way better deals than what I could get back in San Diego.

As the trade was concluding (and I was smiling both on the inside and outside from the joy I felt, knowing how many new adventures I was getting myself into), the owner was telling me about the concert they were having that night. It was a Peruvian man and an Argentinian woman who play a trinador (guitar) and bandoneon (kind of concertina that resembles a smaller square accordion) respectively. I was instantly intrigued.

...and thus began another concert at Arkadia...

(to be concluded in the next entry)...

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