Tag Archive: Drifting

San Francisco in the Prehistoric Age

I found this ancient essay I wrote for Derek Powazek’s site about visiting San Francisco in 2001, just after the recession devastated the city’s economy. I’d spent a summer there five years earlier, so I wandered around for the weekend noting contrasts and taking notes.

SF Stories (my post is the long one at the top)
http://sfstories.com/post/general/index.010.shtml

I find I can’t conjure that depth of feeling for the ways L.A. has changed in the past decade. It’s different, and I could write about it, but not with so much melodrama.

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Dreams, Decisions and the Subconscious

I dreamed of work. Not in a good or bad way, more as an alternative to what-is. I woke in the early-morning light, thinking, “Again?”

Be aware that if you make a major change, this will happen. The other will come calling when you least expect it. The decision not made.

I know why I dreamed of work this time. I ran into someone I know from that sphere — something that happens fairly often. I enjoyed our conversation. Now my subconscious is spinning, assessing the weight of different platters and decisions like items on a restaurant menu. Artichokes or linguine. Sushi or Thai curry. Neither better or worse, just different choices.

This dream wasn’t driven by dissatisfaction. I had an immensely successful week. I presented my first software to spontaneous applause and a flurry of questions, once to peers and once at a popular meetup. It was the reaction I’d hoped for and imagined. There is something there. I’ll keep working on it. I’m making progress and learning.

Who knows how the brain works. Maybe that was the trigger, the achievement of something, even if it’s a first something. I don’t feel as if I’m done with my sabbatical. But sometimes the decision not made drifts up at odd times, on a gray morning during a holiday weekend that doesn’t mean anything because holidays are irrelevant now. Maybe that’s it.

Regardless, I slept eight hours, and now it’s time for breakfast, code and laundry.

The Last Days of Drifting

I wrote this during a long layover at Frankfurt Airport, on my way back from Barcelona to the U.S. in February. When I got home, I gave notice to vacate at my Manhattan apartment and gave away all my stuff, and this crazy adventure began.

At this point, I’m unifying my life, slowly merging my various social media profiles, learning and exploring and creating resources to help other people learn and explore. Looking back at where I was, I give thanks that I’m past that period.

Time in the airport spirals. It spirals in a haze of pleasant white light (in the business lounge) or harsh fluorescence (in the walkways) and becomes endless. I read half of a book (Nail It Then Scale It). I jot down ideas for iterating on a project. I get more tea. Then water. Then tea. Back and forth to the counter, aimless, sliding seamlessly on Lufthansa’s predefined paths. 

I’m bored. I thought a seven-hour layover was a good idea. 

I do like long layovers in a strange, undefined way. They are the fuzzy part of a trip. The pit of potential productivity. I could create something great here, in the airport lounge. I could write something, plan a new feature, get a new idea, implement new code, or just do nothing. Tea. More tea. Back and forth. 

Mostly people don’t talk to each other in the business lounge. I find I’m more productive, because I’m not constantly seeking the next conversation. I meet people on planes all the time, because we are stuck there and the proximity favors talking, at least before we fall asleep or tune each other out with headphones.

I imagine being stuck for days or weeks, walking endlessly from terminal A to Z in simulated comfort, buying boxes of Niederegger marzipan because it is the best thing in the airport. Washing it down with Courvoisier. Yuck. Or water, sold with a smile. Guten tag, Hola, Hello, Hallo, it all sounds the same. The food is better in Europe. 

The guy behind me left. That’s good, because I was uncomfortable writing with him there, felt that he was peering over my shoulder even though of course he was not. Airport privacy is transparent, artificial. We are each perfectly alone and completely seen. I am sure there are cameras in the ceiling. 

I wonder who is doing actual productive work here and who is aimlessly browsing the Internet or reading a book for pleasure or just staring into space. Staring into space is actually a good disguise for productive work, happening behind the scenes. 

Right now my life is in fragments. I am not on Facebook. I alternate between relief to have avoided drama, and wishing for a presence so I wouldn’t need to start a blog to post thoughts. I want to unify my social media presence, so my life is seamless and I can share what I want when I want with who I want. I have my LinkedIn persona and a new G+ page, a blog on organic food and general wellness, and a site for organizing MOOCs and online learning resources. I have a dormant site for people who want to move cities. 

I really want to unify my life, not my social media presence.

The airport is buzzing quietly with the noise of suitcase wheels and heels. People coming and going, in between.