Monday, January 27, 2014

"I look from the wings at the play you are staging..."

Back in October of last year, I read The Biology of Belief, an infomercial of a book that was heavy on biological terminology, extremely heavy on new age spirituality, and almost non-existent on real world application. (Regarding practical use, there was a couple-page ad in the back, deceptively labeled as an “epilogue,” for someone else’s how-to series. No, thank you.)  Like any such book, I read it with a grain of salt, mentally banked what was of interest to me, and discarded the rest.

I followed it up with You Are Not So Smart, and then Mind Wide Open, the former being a highly-readable easy-access tour through modern pop psychology, and the second being a slightly-less-informative tour of the brain.

What do these three books all have in common?  (Besides the high honor of me having read them back-to-back?!)

THEY ARE ABOUT THE SUBCONSCIOUS.  And I hate to be the bearer of sad news, but it would appear that as evolved as you think you may be, you are pretty much nothing more than a slave to your instinctual drives, many of which don’t even really makes sense in any logical way. I mean, you think you’re in control, but you’re not in control. All three books came down to one message: your conscious self makes up a lot of stories to rationalize your behavior, but it’s not really the driving force behind that behavior.  Neat, huh? HAVE FUN WITH YOUR DIRECTIONLESS LIVES, GUYS.

Okay, so, all of this was fresh in my mind when Breakaway changed locations around the same time I was reading these books.  The midtown store – my homebase Breakaway – moved one block north, from Union Avenue to Madison (i.e., into Overton Square).  One block may not sound like a lot, but of all the things that particular one block is, “a lot” is at the top of the list.  It changes everything, from the Thursday night running route, to the parking situation, to the ability to drink beer outside (that would be a NO, said the policemen our first week there), right down to the interior of the store, which is now a little less like your little brother’s living room and a little more like your parents’ dining room – still homey, but you’re just never going to have the level of chaos in the latter that you did in the former.

The atmosphere shift changes things, if for no other reason than the cues from our surroundings are now different, and thus aspects of our behavior are as well (all that subconscious prompting and whatnot).  How much, and to what avail...well, I'm still monitoring for conclusions.  What hasn't changed is that I look forward to Thursdays with the same air of expectation that I used to look forward to Tuesdays with Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  I can’t wait to see what’s going to happen next.

“What’s next” was a question that loomed heavily over the entirety of last year. I recognize the benefit of being “in the moment” as much as possible, but hearkening back to the above comment about taking things with a grain of salt, what I’m “supposed” to do isn’t always what I actually do, and like anyone else who lives and breathes, I am guilty of looking ahead and looking behind more than is necessary.

In fact, looking ahead was precisely what I was doing almost exactly a year ago, when I wrote of feeling a sense of anticipation.

Timing-wise, I was spot on - the story picked up dramatically a couple of weeks after I wrote that. But that's the not the feeling I speak of now. When I talk about wanting to know what comes next, I say it as an invested observer, armed with information, interested in entertaining herself.  A year ago, my anticipation was deeper, an instinctive recognition that something was coming.

I don't have that feeling now (perhaps for the best, all things considered).  But I do feel something else emanating from the depths, spurred by reasons I couldn't possibly identify. I feel like everyone is walking around with their eyes closed...including me.  I'm not sure what that means.

To quote Buffy:  "Where do we go from here?"


  1. I would comment but I'm not sure what it all means.

  2. I think that's actually the perfect comment. I don't know what it means, either...