I am a Strange Loop

Costa Rica. It’s on my brain. All the time, for the most part right now. I have a lot of prep that I need to do. Making sure I have my bus ticket out of the country before I arrive, for starters. Bus ticket seems like the smartest option. (These guys are awesome, by the way.)

I’ve decided on a house to rent for the first month, I do believe. I need to look at a couple of more things, though, to make sure. (Done. House booked for March!!)

Apart from the normal prep involved in making a move, I have some weird things I need to take care of, too. For example at Christmas, I was given a couple of gift cards. One to Pier 1, the other to Amazon.com. I have to figure out how to spend them before I leave the country.

Pier 1, I haven’t really given any thought to yet. It’s the harder choice. I mean, I don’t want to buy and haul a bunch of new exotic knick-knackery to a place which will have all sorts of original and more personally meaningful exotic knick-knackery. But maybe some towels or something. Though I got some towels for Christmas, too. Suggestions?

As for Amazon.com, I made that decision. I’m ordering a Mule transport. It’s logical and useful. When I travel to Costa Rica, I’m not going to have my scooter. I’m leaving it behind in trusting hands. So I’m going to be buying a bicycle. I need a way to get the surfboard to the beach. The Mule is the solution. But I’m not getting it before I definitely decide on the home I’m going to rent so I put it on my wishlist.

And then I looked at my wishlist on Amazon and realized that the transport was the first thing I’ve put on there since 2007. And then, before that, everything on the list dates back 11-12 years ago. So I began looking down memory lane. And I thought about books and how much I love them.

And the first book jarred my memory. It was written by Douglas R. Hofstadter who wrote a book which I had a copy of and lost in the mountains somewhere in California on my trip; the book having bounced out from underneath my backpack while scootering up the winding dirt trail of a mountainside which was clearly designed for nothing less than 4-wheel drive vehicles. I had to stop numerous times along that trail and well before I was halfway through it, I realized the book was gone. No way in hell I was about to backtrack down the mountain to find it. I took a photo of that place to remember it. But I’ve never needed the photo to remind me of that moment.

A moment of rest.

It was a book I bought years ago. A book that I never finished reading but that I valued greatly. And I carried it with me on the trip to read. And I did read it. As much as I ever had.

And I lost it. I lost Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid on a mountain trail in California. And I always thought, “It’s meant to be in the hands of someone else now, not mine.” And really, there was no better place to lose it than where I did.

Maybe it traveled onward from there. Maybe it’s in a trash heap somewhere now. Maybe it found its way to a “Give One, Take One” bookcase at a community center. Who knows? But it went where it was supposed to go. It served its purpose.

Scooter on the trail.

Less than a year later, after Alec died and I went by to pick up some things of his, I was taken aback when I saw a copy of the same book sitting in his room. One he had purchased. I have it now along with another book I picked up.

I much prefer losing myself in a book as opposed to actually losing a book. And maybe I’ll finally finish it, that book. One thing is for sure, though, I’m definitely going to be catching up on some long overdue reading. I may have to update my wishlist a little and begin working my way through it. The collection of books that I’m taking with me to Costa Rica is small. (And I’m keeping it that way.)

I’m also most definitely going to spend more time writing, weaving together these collected tales that might one day make for a good organized read. A read that people might want to enjoy on their own personal journeys. 🙂

Required reading.

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