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Back (A Short Tour to Being Away)

Back.

Back, yes.

Back from long, twisting but cheap airplane routes when my body temperature was scanned and I saw a man I knew years ago pinning his pants back together with a safety pin. He could have bought a new pair of pants and there's a certain lunacy in ignoring an airport full of clothes stores for a cheap box of safety pins and a ten hour flight that connects you to another, but we all make choices in our lives, good and bad. I had a surreal conversation with an eighteen year old on his first solo flight to New York to attend a My Little Pony Convention. I had no idea they had revamped the show. I had no idea it would appeal to people. I had no idea they would want to put horns on their foreheads and fill their ipods with fan made My Little Pony music. But apparently they do and apparently there are four thousand people who do.

And eventually, I came back. Back from the South, where I had my first real experience of what you could call culture shock in the US, of drifting through flea markets, pawn shops, gun shops... of a truly excellent second hand bookstore where both N and I spent too much money and I, for some strange reason, ended up with a pristine, 1975 hardcover edition of Stephen King's 'salem's Lot for seven fifty. I'm not a huge King fan, but I'm running a course on modern horror, and I'd never read this and I thought the book quite attractive--and you know, sitting in the South and reading it, it made a little more sense to me, it was a little more American, somehow, a little more Bradbury than I thought, a little more ambitious for a book that has had a huge influence on modern horror (and is still quite flawed despite its interesting structure and populated by uninteresting and poorly developed characters)... and, you know, I ate a lot of bad food and listened to people tell me how hot it was and saw so many huge churches next to run down trailer parks and houses and next to upscale houses and clean trailer parks, and somewhere, I decided to taste all the candy with peanut butter in it.

Yes, I did.

And now I am back, back in this peanut butter candyless land.

Back through long flights, through bad plane meals, back to the sight of Sydney spread out and lit up at night in a huge, beautiful mess on the shore, back to learn that Amina was kicked off Masterchef and I now no longer care about the show, back to bills and cheques, one of them, even, for Black Sheep, which still sells, mostly to Germans who read an excerpt in study guides, I assume.

So, I'm back, yes.

Hello.

Comments

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ashamel
Jul. 16th, 2012 03:13 am (UTC)
That 'salem's Lot... Any idea what edition and/or printing it is, I ask casually.
benpeek
Jul. 16th, 2012 03:19 am (UTC)
fifth printing, i believe. the woman who ran the store knew her stuff, so it was never going to be anything valuable, but i gave it a look when i got home, out of curiousity.
ashamel
Jul. 16th, 2012 03:28 am (UTC)
It's one of those books with a error in the first print run (just on the dust jacket, from memory), so certain versions are indeed horribly expensive.
benpeek
Jul. 16th, 2012 03:37 am (UTC)
nah. it's just a nice, clean, old hardcover. pristine condition, really.

we bought the zane grey biography off her, the one that is part of a bookclub collection we're finishing that was nik's grandmothers, and that was forty bucks--which is around the right price for that, but that was the most expensive thing we picked up.
detritus2099
Jul. 16th, 2012 11:07 am (UTC)
Reece's Pieces will haunt you forever now.
benpeek
Jul. 18th, 2012 11:20 pm (UTC)
haha.

i found something called a whatchamacallit even.
porphyre
Jul. 18th, 2012 10:24 pm (UTC)
TIL: There is no peanut-butter in AUS candy.

Good to know. I've just made friends with someone new here from melbourne.
benpeek
Jul. 18th, 2012 11:21 pm (UTC)
as far as i know, you can only get it in jars.

that said, australian chocolate just tastes a better than US stuff. i suspect the use of peanut butter so widely is to disguise the awful taste of their chocolate ;)
exp_err
Jul. 27th, 2012 06:11 am (UTC)
homonculus brought home a block of Whitaker's peanut butter chocolate from NZ recently. Whitaker's isn't awful chocolate, but still: yuck.
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