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December 11, 2011

The Prayers God Always Says Yes To

When you go Christmas shopping on Salt Spring, before you even leave the house you pretty much know what's out there to purchase and where to get it. Wonderful chocolates.  Beautiful soaps. Organic cheese. Wine. Vegan desserts. Fair traded and locally roasted coffees. CD's by local musicians. Gift certificates from restaurants such as the Harbour House. What a great gift that would make for someone. Did you say Seafood Linguine? Thank you Santa!

I really like the idea of focusing on edible gifts or giving experiences so that you're not adding to the garbage heap that has become Planet Earth.  On Salt Spring you go to craft fairs or visit Winter craft, the galleries or the independent little stores that dot Ganges and Fulford Villages. You buy some home made jelly. You talk to friends. Santa arrives via floatplane and then transfers to a boat. You shoot the breeze with people you know. You get a latte and chew hard on Fleur de Sel chocolate. Christmas music blankets the village. It's so easy peasy. It's almost enjoyable.

Now, fast forward to the city. I'd forgotten what it's like to be in the mileau of downtown Vancouver and shopping. It's especially bad if A) you have no list and B) you are intentionally choosing not to buy stuff or exchange gifts and C) you are overwhelmed by too many lights, sounds and people. I fit all of those categories. Not a list maker, don't want to give or receive any more crap and completely overwhelmed by excess stimuli.    I become a full-fledged Zombie and fear for my life. But, having been away from it, like an addict, I just wanted a whiff. I fell off the wagon for an afternoon.

Here are a few irrelevant things I noticed in doing so:
  • The staff who work at Chapters downtown Vancouver don't actually know where any books are even though the computer says that the book you are seeking is in the Canadiana Bargain Bin. Apparently that Bin is in some mythical land like the World of Og. 
  • It breaks my heart to see incredibly talented Canadian writers: Guy Vanderhague. Patrick Lane to name just two with their books practically free. Their blood, sweat, tears and souls reduced to $5. A year or two of creative, fictional intensity transferred to the page and now available to any stingy Tom, Dick or Harry for $5.  Isn't that just heartbreaking? You'd have to be a lunatic masochist to want to write a book is what you start to think. And, then your very next thought? "Count me in!"
  • I was in search of a particular author. His name is Brian Payton. He's going to be my mentor at the SFU Writer's Studio. He's written several non fiction and one fiction book. In searching for one of his books in Chapters, I felt like I was on the expedition he wrote about.  
  • First unoriginal thought: Christmas and coffee (Starbucks) are capitalist plots that should be avoided at all cost. When I move through the mall in a semi-conscious state, I begin to feel like a zombie or a Visa seeking missile and all around me are similar automatons as if the only ancient video game that I've ever played - PacMan -   has come to life in the humans all around me. The  programming has gone seriously wrong people. You can only really clearly notice this to an extreme after being away from the consumption junction for a few years. It's ridiculous. Stop it right now!
  • Having just said that, I did see in the Vancouver Art Gallery gift shop some lovely wooden ornaments made by Vancouver First Nation carvers. Price? $13.00 They have inspiring sayings on the cards. The  proceeds go in part to supporting women who  are recovering from addiction and who probably have better memories than mine at this point or I'd remember the exact name of the charity.
  • There are a lot of beautiful gay men selling perfume at Christmas. What must it feel like to be a gay man selling perfume? It's a reality I just can't fathom. Something about it makes me sad. Their wages for one.
  • There is  a book out there with Clint Eastwood on the cover although it looks as if he's had a little more plastic surgery than he should have or the Photoshop touch up person was totally pissed.  The book is called Wisdom. It's full of leaders, thinkers and the wisdom they have to share based on their experiences. I flipped through that book and I thought, I want this book. I'd read this book. I did not buy said book.  Instead I bought a book entitled, The Prayers God Always Says Yes To. You mean somebody's already figured it out? They wrote the shit down. You just have to read it, stupid. Who knew?

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