more local than before

07/15/2021 3 By BuddyCushman

I’m feeling like a local, here in Encinitas, CA, more with each day drifting by on the westerlies. Today I went and got my library card (I think there’s a pic popping up here in a second). There’s nothing like a library card, a free ticket to the fun house, to a world of visions and dreams and brain cell stimulation, and mostly for me it’s just crazy good, a library, books for free and nowadays DVDs too, and a thrill for me this morning was walking into the low-slung building – all California-like – and straight across and through the wide expanse, out there through the glass – there’s the endless blue of the Pacific Ocean. Like a hot dog with not only mustard and relish – but onions too. Jackpot.

Their computers were on the fritz but they managed me a card and I strolled around and walked out onto a balcony with fun chairs where you can sit and read and think about stuff – I bet – and there’s the Pacific and it doesn’t and didn’t cost a thing other than five minutes to prove I’m me and I’m a resident (a local) here now and a woman named Honey hands me my plastic and I walk the aisles and land in fiction and head right to James Lee Burke and find a couple I don’t remember reading yet, having read like 25 of his, and I take them out – via hand-written numbers with the computer glitch – and drive them home and I sat outside a while ago and read 29 pages of the first one.

Which, in addition to me being more of a local than ever, and now with my very own San Diego County library system card, is itself something because if you’re a follower of Couch Surfing at 70 you may remember my chronic, devoted, daily immersion in books, one book after another, a couple started and finished each week – that aspect of my life coming to a crashing halt April 15, exactly three months ago, the day after I heard the word “divorce”. I have been reading some Zen journaling since I got here, there’s that, more healing maybe, but today was the first regular book.

I did some gardening out in the yard – part of the rental deal – and put my name into an agency looking for part-time work which generated a lot of clearly misplaced interest. So phone calls and good luck anyways. And all of it is happening here, 1000 miles south of that sadness and the divorce and the end to reading back there.

All of which makes me more of a local than, say last Friday. A surfer-dreaming boy in a SoCal beach town – with a library card of his own.