There is an adage, as old as I am, that states simply, “Not all reader’s lead, but all Leaders read.”
Given the one exception of our Tangerine Baboon, never-the-less this precept holds true. The only way to get yourself out of a box is to think. And the absolutely, proven-to-work-every-time-method of thinking outside your box is . . . to read. As I have shared with you before I am the world’s most painful introvert. Out in the wild I am blessed with brief moments of brilliance and charm, wrapped in the awkward conscious of a 13 year old who has lived another 45 years. I still stumble over words when I speak. No matter how confident I am with a topic, when in public, my upper lip quivers ever so slightly when giving a public address. I never seem to say just the right thing. More often than not my loving advice comes across as too rough and rugged. I self-describe as: Direct.
At home, with my dogs, my life is quiet and calm. I fill my hours with research, whether it be scanning You Tube videos or consuming volumes of my latest passion. Some time ago, I stumbled upon the topics of Behavioral Economics and Decision Making while researching how to market my construction business. These two topics alone have consumed me. Thinking farther back, I remember the first book that I ever read through in a day. Do you? Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. O.M.G. (Holy crap, I just wrote O.M.G. and meant it.) Now while I had consumed numerous volumes of the Hardy Boys previous to this time, it took Roald Dahl’s story of a young boy and an eccentric chocolate maker to force me to enlist the power of my D celled flashlight under the covers. I was both elated and depressed when I finished the book in one day. Elated because it was the first time I had ever traveled to England. (Yes, you actually get to travel places when you read about them.) Depressed because I had to wait the entire rest of the week before I had library privilege at school again.
Just last night Solano County issued the shelter-in-place order. I am by far lucky for so many things in my life, none-the-least-of-which are you, who bless me every time you read this blog and give it a like or send me a note. I promise, it does me good by helping to quiet my inner, anxious 13 year old, reliving his first day of high school, every time he starts a conversation. I am also lucky for having the skills necessary to provide for myself: Food and shelter-wise. I have been privileged to have the opportunity to serve this community on a local Commission and now to work for our parks department at GVRD. (I am beginning to feel more like a sophomore midterm. Still a ways to go until senior-i-tis, and complete self-confidence kicks in, I assure you.) Most of all I am absolutely beside myself knowing that we have our own local well-spring of distraction and intrigue. I refer to Karen and Jon of Alibi Bookshop. Recent transplants, to be sure, but a more committed couple to our community I have yet to meet. They have sunk their hearts, souls and pocket books into creating a town jewel on Marin Street.
Social distancing strongly encourages us to stand apart in a crowd. Shelter-in-place requires us to stay at home. (Introverts, stop here and check in on your extrovert friends.) Now while I thrive in my own environment and have found personal growth over the last few months in self-imposed hibernation, I realize that all this may be new to a lot of you. Vallejo is of course: V-Town. The place where we invent reasons to get together, socialize and celebrate the great expanse of diversity that our community seems to offer, with such a singular uniqueness over others. Dear Lord, I still wave at neighbors I have never met.
So here is the trick, my friends. For you introverts, well, you know what to do for yourself but seriously do check in on your extrovert friends and perhaps bring them the gift of a book. For you extroverts out there, do lean on your introvert friends the way they have leaned on you when in public. If nothing else, we will come to appreciate each other just that much more. For both you innies and outies, drop an email to Alibi Bookshop (email@example.com) or use this link to order books from bookshop.org/shop/alibibookshop. I prefer to email them directly to maintain that personal connection with my dealer. The other link provides them with a small dollar percentage but they never know exactly who has ordered a book with it. Either way you will be supporting an amazing little downtown business in the highest of V-Town fashion.