On rare occasions, but as often as possible, I pack my refuge gear – my computer, my slightly larger than travel size orange juicer and my swim shorts – and I head of to Agaete on Gran Canaria. It's one of my favorite refuges in the world, and when I need several days of in-depth room for reflection and writing, it's the one closest to home.
Obviously I go there by train – it's departs from the Harry Potter platform at the Central Station, right next to the free coffee stand. Shhh. Yes, that is how I get there.
Agaete is situated on the North-western coast of Gran Canaria. It's quite isolated and as far from the diabolical hellholes on the southern part of the Island as possible. It's just sitting there, yet unspoiled, with on ocean view as far as the eye can see and a mountain range as a perfect backdrop to the sound of the birds and the waves. The natural volcanic pool at beach, is perfect for a later afternoon swim and it's never crowded. At the same time, I want to share it with the world and keep it a secret. It deserves both.
This whole refuge-thing is loaded with strict habits. It's important to avoid distractions, for it to fulfill its purpose. I need to leave the obligations of everyday life behind, and not deal with any practical matters. So I've developed a set of habits, to allow for exactly that. Which buses to take to get there, where to shop and for what. In-and-out Burger style – without burgers. No thinking required.
The no thinking part, however much it serves the need of the moment, is also a potential pitfall, and this time I fell. Again. That goes for all kinds of habits that replace awareness – but this one hit me in the face, like stepping in the same dog poop three times in a row, third time barefoot – on purpose.
The habits included stopping at Carrefour in Las Palmas, to get some stuff I normally couldn't get in Agaete. The need expired years ago, but the habit remained. I was somehow caught in this old pattern, that I just followed along into the lions cage, blindly. When I arrived at the infamous bread section and they didn’t have any more of my usual bread, I just carried on. I was so pleased to find local goat cheese and chili, which they rarely have in Agaete, that I just carried on some more. Somehow it made sense.
It took about half an hour of wandering aimlessly in the aisles, before I had a flashback to last time I was there, when I promised myself I would never do that again. 5 minutes later I remembered the previous time, when I promised myself the same. 45 minutes into the experience I observed myself being utterly paralyzed and incapable of making decisions, with a growing sense of stress, which is exactly that same thing that happened the two last times. WTF?? I can’t believe I forgot this. I purposefully didn’t buy any chocolate from Mondelez because I try to avoid supporting multinationals, but I still went to Carrefour??? Shit. ;-)
What added to the irony, is that they have both local goat cheese and chili in Agaete. Haha.
It’s very curious, but it almost feels therapeutic to have gone through it again. What a blind creature of habit I can be. Talk about die-hard habits – those are the ones that make the world stuck between a rock and a hard place.
I blame my OCD and excuse myself with being really tired – but please, please remind me, should the chance ever arise. I'm probably doing this, more than I know.