Feb 23 2014

Run-Ins: “Not Today”

Published by at 5:07 am under Run-Ins

I am one of those people that must seem incredibly approachable.

I’ve had any number of conversations over the years with complete strangers who feel compelled to tell me their life stories, That Weird Thing That Happened That One Time™, the Secrets of the Universe™, and/or various bits of cryptic information and what-the-fuckery.

I met God in a coffee shop once.  Really.  But I’m not going to tell that story tonight.

Instead (and I’ll tell it eventually, fear not), I’ll write about today’s encounter, while it’s still fresh in my mind.

We went to Santa Cruz today, which we are prone to doing on occasion.  There is a fairly decent used book store there, called Logos. Downstairs, they have a somewhat largish metaphysical section, as well as a decent selection of folklore, psychology, and dream-related texts.  They also have a great selection of art books upstairs, which is how I got a $125 collection of Gahan Wilson’s collected cartoons for Playboy for $31.98 today.

Anyway, as I was lugging around this particular slipcased-three-volume-hardcover-set-that-weighs-more-than-my-son, I met my son-who-weighs-less-than-these-books and my wife down by the metaphysical section.

One thing that has always made me smile is that they have a shelf labelled “Miscellaneous High Weirdness”  which usually has a nice selection of far-fringe and/or Peter Levenda books. While I was browsing through the “regular weirdness” portion, a random woman with teeth that would probably give Shane McGowan’s a run for the money and wearing a blue trench coat pointed out Levenda’s book Unholy Alliance and decided to tell us that the previous night she had just been sitting there, and the book had “literally leapt off the shelf and onto the floor.”

Not fallen.  “Leapt.”

I think I made polite acknowledgment, and maybe said something like “it must have been trying to get your attention,” which she then took as an invitation to corner me into conversation.

“You know which book is a really good one on this subject? The Nazis and the Occult by Dusty Sklar.”

“Yes,” I replied. “I’ve read it. I have a copy.”  <– this was my first mistake

“REALLY?!  I lost my copy. I can’t find it anywhere! Do you have an extra copy?”

“No, I don’t.  But it’s pretty easy to find.  I lost my original copy, too, but got my replacement at Half-Price Books in Fremont…”

From there, the conversation twisted around the topic of various other Nazi/Occult books (Sklar’s book is okay, but I tend to like Goodrick-Clarke’s book better, and for the record, while I’m willing to acknowledge a certain level of occult interest seems to have existed within the SS, for instance, I don’t know that the entire Third Reich was driven by The Dark Forces™ – I just enjoy reading the genre).

Then, somehow, we got on the topic of bookstores in Berkeley, and how she hears voices. (*ding!*)

The voices saved her life twice – most recently when she was (she claims) hit in the head with a crowbar while trying to break up a street fight (a male friend of hers was being attacked by a gang of women, and she was hit from behind).  It took her two years to heal, and get her cognitive functioning back.  The voice that saved her life had told her before she even left the house that “if you hit the ground, you won’t survive.” She didn’t know what it meant until she got involved in the fight.

Her friend who was under attack was fighting alcoholism, and from there the conversation shifted to harm-reduction models. I found out about all of this after I told her she should pick her fights more wisely. Okay, A+ for saving your buddy’s life, if that’s what happened.

After she got hit in the head, she told me, she saw a large white circle in her peripheral vision. It kept growing, and the voice told her that if it got past her vision, that would be it. “I thought it might be the ‘tunnel’ that everyone talks about with Near Death Experiences.”

"Not today"

“Not today”

So she told it to go away (very loudly in her head), and then, she lost consciousness.

I offered up Syrio Forel’s advice that “there is only one thing we say to Death: ‘not today’.”

She hasn’t read or seen Game of Thrones, but she liked the advice.

Somehow this morphed into a discussion on Sufi teaching stories, which was mercifully cut short when my wife (who had removed herself and our son from the conversation) called me on my cellphone to rescue me.

“Not today.”

Words to live by.



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