Each of us has a vice… a weakness that just sometimes defies all logic and sanity and practically requires us to fall victim to it’s whims. While much of the world’s media would talk about the “provocative” compulsions – sex, drugs & alcohol, and eating disorders (you know, the ones that actually cause some form of physical harm to the practitioner) – there are actually others that can be almost as dangerous, yet a lot less physically destructive.
Some people are addicted to Starbucks, some to McDonalds. Some people tend to have difficulty functioning without their trip to WalMart or the Dollar stores (Dollar General, Dollar Tree, etc.)…
Years ago, there was a local shop called CD Alley, which sold (go figure) – CDs. New and used, with the new ones often costing as much or less than most box stores. It was the kind of store you could listen through some of the used discs and make a discovery of a new group, or realize that that great song that you’ve been hearing on the radio is the only good song on the album. I have since overcome the music addiction (sort of… I don’t buy a lot of new albums anymore, now that there are streaming services that allow me to listen-on-demand).
I also used to suffer from vidiction – the need to collect a lot of movies. That has become curbed over time, as well, to the point that there are few movies I actually buy (I’ll rent the hell out of movies, and the really powerful ones that I like, I might get, but the reality is how often am I actually going to watch it? Usually only once, so what’s the point?).
However, I can still get lost in, and have moments of weakness in the box stores (Best Buy is especially dangerous, when it comes to A/V items…). There is one particular store (a type, specifically, but a brand by nature) that has always been a thorn in my side, and probably will always continue to haunt me – and the easiest for me to buckle to.
The bookstore. Barnes & Noble, specifically (since it’s really the only game in town, outside of the local & used book shops, or the corners available in other box stores – all of the “Marts” and Target, etc.) has a dangerous hold. If there is no particular purpose for the trip, I could get lost, wandering the aisles and reading the notes on the backs/jackets of books for the title that look interesting, or authors I am interested in exploring. I have my specific spots that I go to, but a little bit of wandering is good for exposure to new things.
I say all of that to say this: I stopped by the local B&N last night, with nothing particular in mind that to kill a little bit of time, and to look up some books for a friend. When all was said and done, I had a magazine (Writer’s Digest), and seven books in tow – with authors like Stephen King and Neil Gaiman, to a Writer’s Guide to Poisons and a prompt book. All of them for me, to be added to the stack of books that has become the “One day I’ll read these” stack, which already has about ten books from previous trips and acquisitions… along with the dozens (if not close to hundred plus) of books that I have had for years and have yet to crack the spines on, since I’ve always been sidetracked by a new book, or new adventure.
Such is life, I guess… and as dangerous as some addictions may be, as long as I don’t buy any more than I can carry, or don’t pull a bookshelf onto myself, mine is at least legal, (relatively) safe, and I might actually learn a thing or three as I go (a healthy benefit for someone who wants to write).