May 20, 2008

leaving and arriving

the last four days have been distinctly surreal. leaving a totalizing job is a wrenching experience, the more so if you have had, last minute, a bit of a change of heart.

i had dinner in mountain view with aaron and jini; the streets were full of people recovering from work, happy, talking to friends, drinking wine, browsing in stores. it was unseasonably warm. the late afternoon had been a blur of leavetaking and salvaging emails and files. i had the distinct sensation time was running out with many things left to do, yet i was compelled and wanted to spend time with as many people as possible. when i got back from dinner, i had about 45 minutes before the last valencia shuttle arrived, and waited outside reading the cunning man. it was a funny feeling, heavy and light at the same time.

on saturday morning, i woke up early and walked out to the farmers' market. it is cherry season now, and piles of them sat gleaming in the sun. i ate a sample strawberry and listened to the counter folks talk about j.i. rodale and began to miss san francisco even before really leaving. someone in noe valley showed up to buy my feather bed, then i went out again to buy chewy sourdough pizza breads from the bennet valley bread lady. it was the first half of a valedictory lap around the city. dave showed up mid-morning and we drove up to north beach to meet zach and the rest of the party. there was some 3 on 3 basketball, shotguns of tecate, then a long drive to stinson beach. along the way, the most expensive dried fruit and nuts ever. another day of no food. tecate and pacifico, cold water and surf, tans. dinner at pakwan, drinks at bourbon and branch (amazing martinis, the austrian) then la trappe (a phenomenal unibroue ephemere), then back to zach and catherine's for liar's dice.

sunday morning, i was up early to sell yet more stuff. i dropped off two boxes of stuff at the goodwill box, then walked down to the safeway at 30/mission in search of a coinstar machine (which i didn't find). this being a true valedictory lap, i stopped in mitchell's in search of ice cream, then walked up cortland for a kefte sandwich at progressive grounds before catching the 23 bayview into the shop. refinished the top of the chair, carved out the rest of the bowl, and made a very awkward leavetaking. john was sweet and dropped me off at the hospital. it was 6.30pm and still light, and i walked home, stopping at ritual along the way. around 8pm, people started trickling in. pelly, zach, mary zhang, may, halsey, peterson all showed up. we made our way through a case of tecate, and then i made curry thai noodles. i went to bed at 1 after tearing the pictures off the walls.

monday morning, up at 5.30. the room felt empty, and i folded up the last of the linens and took out the last of the trash. the bags were huge and reminded me again of why i want to travel light. the line at the united check-in was glacial, then the line for security stretched almost to another terminal. flight to san diego delayed nearly an hour, then flight from san diego to denver delayed 40 minutes. i just caught the denver-aspen flight, but of course the bags didn't make it. susan working picked me up from the airport. i met wyatt and whit, the other two wood interns (stories to come). we moved stuff, we did a grocery run, we had pizza and beer, we came back. i think i will like this.

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