Monday, April 1, 2013

October 3, 2008: Purchase of consumables

I eat books.

I also eat food.  If you're going on a multi-month canoe trip, you don't want to be short of either.  Since the portion of these consumables headed toward my stomach consisted of cans and EasyMac, I had to pay especial attention to that portion intended to stave off boredom.  To feed the brain.  To exercise the noggin.  To see myself, constantly, not as a lone individual sitting in a little boat in the middle of nowhere, but as a human being, connected to the world.

So even though it was already afternoon and I'd decided I could not burn another day in Winnipeg, I found some used bookstore listed in the phonebook, and asked, as politely as any American could, for directions.  You may imagine here that the books in this store were piled up, one on top of the other from floor to ceiling, in stacks that leaned over so dangerously they seemed to defy gravity; that the shopkeeper, sitting near the entrance was invisible behind a calamity of literature that so covered his desk that the only proof of his existence was a hand that flicked clandestinely through the cracks to fetch customer's cash -- never credit, never counted, and no change given; it was for the appearance of the thing, that customers pick up books and deposit money in a pantomime of the ancient traditions.  In short, that the bookstore was exactly like Derby Square Bookstore in Salem, Massachusetts.

If you can imagine that, please continue to do so.  Will it help if I mention I first bought the Gormenghast trilogy at that place?  I will inject just a parenthetical (the shop was actually not like that at all, but rather tidy in its Winnipegian order) and then complete my tale in accelerating fiction: that that ancient (fictional) store owner extended his grave (fictional) hand after accepting my (all too real) money, and returned to me a cardboard-bound (fictional) pamphlet.  This pamphlet could not exist, it was written in my unmistakable scrawl and dated over four years in the future.

When the mind is fed books it becomes rational enough to ignore things that cannot exist, so I added it to my pile of books.  I left the bookstore; I left Winnipeg.  I had spent $40 on food and $50 on books.

Day 104 ended: 49*46.397N, 097*09.213W

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