Why I find you in a bookshop, explained.

My life is super boring, and that is all my fault.

Not that I wasn’t aware of that. Before I moved to this city (so that I could finally live too far from home for my parents to interfere with me making stupid yet cool decisions), I’d had this whole vision for myself: partying ‘til midnight, “tasting” all the most hideous bars in the town, smoking weed as a creativity boost, having a tattoo that guarantees freaking out mom, stuff like that.

Yet, 2 years from those naïve years, I could qualify as a nun if judged by my very own standards of “living life”. And no, of course I still have not had any tattoo yet.

In fact, on this Saturday afternoon I am here. In a fucking bookshop.

What the hell happened, Daly?

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They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. Well, I’d say it’s even more impossible to teach an introvert some extrovert tricks. And in my case, not for the lack of trying. I once went to this bar named Apocalypse at around 12am (back when I still believed I could be cool), and at first glance I thought that was going to be my utopia. The music was so loud I could feel my heart jumping to the beats, and we literally had to roll tissues into small earbuds to prevent some terminal hearing damage. About three steps from our table, I could see a round of black men in fine suits, the exact kind of male vibe that could hit me weak in the knees; they were seated there with two beautiful girls – two model-standard beautiful girls in slutty attires that clearly declare they either were celebrities, or prostitutes. I was in ninth cloud, and it wasn’t because of the haze of weed and shisha smoke that was surrounding us. The clashing sounds of EDM were attacking us in every dimension, shots were ordered, and my friends (colleagues, to be precise) started to shake to Calvin Harris in all kinds of moves.  It was strange and quite fun seeing my grumpy boss join the crowd of ecstatic youngster on the main floor, and myself swaying in the most seductive, playgirl demeanor I could pull off.

Then, there it happened.

My mood suddenly shot down South. It was a spiral impossible to stop track. All joy evaporated, leaving me a hollow shell of my very own person that clearly is craving some peace and solitude. God I hate this place. I hate the vacant looks and the annoying laugh and the shouting of people trying to talk above the deafening music. I feel awkward dancing when no one is looking, because everyone is so damn consumed in their own pretentious passionate dancing shits. I like music and dancing, but not like this. Not here.

I wanted out.

I did not bail that day, and actually stayed until the last minute, but I knew this was it. That was the first epiphany for me, before the second time when I inhaled the first puff of cigarette “for experiement” in my life, only to loathe every bit of it. The nerdy freak inside me has spoken. “This just isn’t for you.”

Oh but I digress. Look, this whole post is supposed to be about a bookshop, right? When I can’t think of anything to do on a weekend, I go to a bookshop. You can read a lot about a person when you are at a bookshop with them. At the entrance of the store, which can be understood as the “Star spot”, they display the most trendy books, mostly by young authors, some of them are just barely over 20. A young girl, shoulder-length hair, white t-shirt tucked in a long dress, complimented by a pair of Hunter sneakers that finish up her very unique-like-any-other-unique-and-average-girl look; she is strolling around the “Star spot”. She scans through some books and pages, and finally adds one more into her arms that are already piled with seven books, all of which are proses or inspirational modern fairy tales by the aforementioned young authors. On the other side of the shelf, a guy with eyes of a tiger was digging up the Trump collection, and next to him a thirty something man searching for something Buddhist. Then me. As a profoundly sophisticated young woman, I have no interest in those mundane literature, and just proudly walk past all of them, eye on my one and only true calling: the manga/comics section.

I come out of the store with one volume of Conan, as I’ve done for the last 15 years, and another comic about diet. Neither of these books are important, to be honest, and I just bought them to satisfy the greedy nerd inside me. But I decided to go here for virtually nothing, didn’t I? One or two years ago, I must have been that “unique” girl in the “Star spot” section, looking for answers, or maybe just someone to talk about my very “unique” pains of being young. Several years from now, maybe you’d find me there among those Buddhist-something shelves, again looking for answers in my life.

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I think it is the kind of therapy that bookshops offer us. As soon as I walk in here, the soothing scent of papers tells me it is going to be fine. You have left life outside the door, and in this quiet little corner, the only noisy thing is your vibrant mind that is travelling miles into the fictional world painted by words. And that, to me, is pure happiness.

We come to bookshops when we have a question. We’re looking for the answers in the books, which, sometimes, actually just give us even more questions. But chances are that we will find happiness on the way, then what is the loss?

So nerd up, and head to a bookshop.

Da Ly, April 2017

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