Saturday, 22 January 2011

Walks, Artists, and the Discovery of One's Self

There was this summer I had one time that changed my entire world...  Since then I've had so many seasons that have changed my life that it seems absurd to remember them all.  This one, though, was the beginning of Edumusication.  As this winter is proofing, many wonderful things in my life begin with Edumusication...

I walked fifty blocks on my day off.  Fifty blocks in the sunshine of a Vancouver summer to just enjoy the sunshine...and stop in at The Book Store...before hitting up the beach.  It was a brilliant walk (and I think I was even sporting me orange crocs, which a few coworkers avoided commenting on), and I followed it up with a voyage into The Book Store.

(The Book Store is code for the large book chain I gave two and half years of my life to.  I may have also given them my family's last hopes of me ever being satisfied with a "normal" job...)

I remember the heat of the sun beating down on my pale white skin as I made my way along Main Street...but I didn't stay on that street long.  This was the first time I began my exploratory routes through the neighbourhoods between my house and The Book Store.  The voyages would continue for the rest of that summer (yet sadly fade away into nothing the next summer), and I discovered some amazing places, (and extremely wealthy homes). 

Once I made it into my second home, ear plugs blaring, pumping my legs and nodding my head along to the song coursing through my body, I bounded up the escalator and retreated into my favourite section.  I can't remember which book I needed to find that day, but I do remember tapping my foot to the song, shaking my hips a bit and continuing to nod my head as I performed a search at the closest computer terminal.

"Can I help you?" this stranger asked me.

I turned, smiled, and took out my earplugs.  "Oh, hi, no, thanks." I gave him my biggest grin (and I didn't even know its power at this time), and introduced myself.  "I'm Jodi, you mus be new," and I read his name tag aloud as I shook his hand.

"Yeah, I am.  But I've heard of you." Now, sentences like that are always nice to hear, so my smile continued.

"Only good things, I hope!"

"Yeah, don't worry."  And the conversation may have gone in a few other directions before we got to this comment that has always stood out in my mind.  "I saw this girl over here, busting a move at the computer and I just thought, man, she looks so happy..."

And I was. 

That summer was filled with so much.  So many things happened in my head that it's hard to even think of who I was before that summer.  But this was one of those really good days.  Yeah, one of those days that would make me wonder if I was possibly bi-polar because my highs can get so high, and my lows can go pretty low.  Luckily, I understand that pop psychology is wrong in diagnozing mental disorders, and I just feel things pretty's the artist side of me screaming to get out, I suppose...

I stopped, halfway through my walk, to eat in a restuarant by myself. 

Yes, alone.

Trust me, if you've never done this, you've never lived!  It took a lot of courage for me to order by myself, and I hid my face in a book to avoid the embarassment of not doing anything - like talking to the person I was dining with, 'cuz that would have been crazy - while I waited for my food to come.  I had hidden whichever book I was currently reading in a cover we were selling at The Book Store, so nobody knew that I was devouring the lastest historical thriller to come since Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code, Elizabeth Kostova's The Historian.  The server stopped by my table inbetween taking my order and just before my food was delivered.  "Are you reading the Bible?" she asked.  "Uh, no," I said, concerned that they thought I was that "freak" who was eating by herself.* "Oh, we (she pointed to the bartender) thought that's why you might be hiding it..." I went on to explain to her that I was trying to protect my book, you see, because I had only borrowed it, not bought it...but we have these cool little bookholders at The Book Store, if she was interested. (Always the sales person, ...for the companies I work for, not myself...)

It wasn't the most popular book in the world that made me into that girl bopping along to whatever tune was playing.  It wasn't even the server asking me if I was reading the Bible.  Perhaps it was the music I was listening to, 'cause I listen to some stellar tunes :-D But I think it was more than that.  Somewhere along my journey that day, and that summer, I found myself.  I found the person strong enough to eat in a restaurant by herself.  I found the woman who could walk fifty blocks to search for a book.  I found the artist who went hunting for inspiration in the city she was loving.  I found myself.

I've lost her a few times.  But not today.  Today, I found her again, and I found my zen.  I took a walk on a sunny day, and turned off my music to reach that zen place.  I listened to the sloshing of the boots on the sidewalk, and the splashing of car tires in the melting roadways.  I breathed in the crisp, January air.  The sun soaked my cheeks in warmth, and the wind whipped my skin dry, but I didn't care.  I experienced the city.  I went hunting for inspiration in the city I am loving...and I found myself again.

Hmmmm...what a great day!

I'll share this GREAT Song with you to commemorate it....yes, apparently, sunshine always helps me find myself :-D

*DISCLAIMER: These are the thoughts of mine at that time, not my thoughts today.  I think it is absolutely fine for you to go to a restaurant and read the Bible.  I DO NOT think that makes you into a freak...but if it did, I would still be your friend.  I enjoy people who read religious texts. :-D

1 comment:

Jessica said...

The summer I worked at the dollar store, rather than taking the 30 minute crappy bus trip, I would walk 20 minutes there and later 20 minutes back when my shift was over. It was the most serene and calming experience I ever experienced. I was in control of my movement and on days when I'm going to be late for work because of the Toronto traffic, I'm envious of those walks and the freedom I had. It was just me, my ipod and the open sidewalk in front of me.

I also used to love eating alone, especially in little coffee shops or cafes in new cities. It's a good way to people-watch and chat up the cute staff who used to believe I was stood up. :)