Books! I love books! I love being around books. I love holding books. I love the smell of books. And, most of all, I love reading books.
No matter what the book is about, whether fiction, nonfiction, or vanilla ice cream, a book takes you to that quiet, peaceful private place where everything is possible.
Where is this place? Inside your head? Outside your head? Another dimension? Who knows? Wherever it is, it is a serene place where a book gladly shares its knowledge.
What a paradox that this place is beyond description, yet I am using words to describe it. It does not have a name. In keeping with the paradox, I will call it That Nameless Place.
While I browse in a bookstore, I go near That Nameless Place. I am not there because I am not reading a book; I am browsing. But I am close enough to experience the privacy and peacefulness of That Nameless Place. I am in an altered state of consciousness. I call browsing in a bookstore in this altered state, wandering lonely as a cloud. I go into bookstores and wander lonely as a cloud. (By the way, I gave that phrase to William Wordsworth and he used it in a poem.)
Today I was in Indigo Books, at Yonge and Eglinton, wandering lonely as a cloud. I was enjoying the tranquility of being near That Nameless Place . . .
“CAN I HELP YOU?”
Damn! Some trying-to-be-helpful store clerk looked at me and decided that I needed help. I probably do need help mentally, but not today. How disorienting! How jarring! His question whisked me away from near That Nameless Place.
“Uh-er-uh-uh-no, thank you,” I said.
I recovered and resumed wandering lonely as a cloud. Ah, the peace of being near That Nameless Place. But it wasn’t long before another clerk destroyed my serenity with, “Are you finding everything you are looking for?”
What is with these damn store clerks? Why can’t they stand around with their thumbs up their asses and leave me alone? Do I look incapable of asking for help if I need it?
Once again, I recovered. Once again, I wandered lonely as a cloud. Once again, another damn store clerk destroyed my serenity with a stupid question.
I had enough. I left the store, came home, and picked up a book. Soon, I was in That Nameless Place. Amen.