Several folks I've chatted with of late have referenced my new "normal" as a vacation.
No. Nada. Nunca. X-na on the acation-va.
I'm in a new place in my life and a new kind of life. Every day is a celebration of what might be. Every day holds opportunities for relaxation, pleasure, learning, and making the space I take up more worthwhile because I've done something good with the time I've been given.
But I can't view it as a vacation because that particular word denotes that I'm taking time away from something to which I will return.
That's not going to happen.
So, yes, I'm on a break from the 9 to 5 world. But I may never return to it. I'd love to find a way to write, be creative, train and do all the things I enjoy doing while simultaneously fulfilling other folks' expectations enough to actually get paid for it. You've now heard my current dream. If I don't pull that off, then current plan #2 is to find something that will pay the bills and also allow me to pursue passions like writing and volunteering. We shall see.
I mention the v-word because while I am not on one, Stan, my traveling companion was. He left on Wednesday night and we spent Tuesday and the time until we left him to his own devices to get on the peanut-laden Southwest flight home traversing the city with the help of two most excellent tour guides.
World, meet Richard and Larry! Richard and Robin will host me the last week I'm in California. Larry has made provisions for me to stay among the Redwoods in a very comfortable room on the campgrounds where he works. Robin wasn't in town but Richard, with his vast knowledge of San Francisco architecture, real estate, history, food, wine and well . . . just about everything . . . served our cause of getting Stan a good sense that he'd "seen" the city. Of course, with the top down on the Beetle you can see plenty!
Richard was gracious beyond belief in that we stuffed his probably close to 6 ft frame in and out of that car with little room to spare and not once did he complain. Instead, he just added another story of travels on the road and challenges as well as delights he'd experienced there.
Larry sent us on our way the first day in because he had to work but told us how to get to the DeYoung museum and oh, oh, aren't we glad!?! Loved the view from the tower that is just another way San Francisco can "na na na boo boo" the rest of the country with its grandeur. Also loved that a towering docent (truly tall beefy guy) felt the need to offer us his own account of one particular fashion exhibit. When he left us, i asked Stan, "Now why do you suppose we, of all the people in this room, merited that little extra?" Stan offered, "Well he glanced at me and studied you, so I'm thinking he's leaning your way."
I do so love men talk with the men!!! I thought my breasts were being appreciated but Stan confirmed it. Ahhhh . . . not everyone here is saluting the Castro flag, now are they?
We did a lot of twisting and turning and topping of hills. We also took in some great art including murals painted on the walls of the Mission District, particularly along Balmy Alley. Stan thrilled me when he proclaimed the last several days to be the most fun he'd had in years.
Yes! Yes! Yes! I wanted to reward him wih a great time. He rewarded me with his delight. We all come out winners.
Unfortunately, he missed the biggie as far as I was concerned. When we dropped him off we came back by the AIDS memorial and then made one more stop at the remembrance of the Holocaust. As I approached the cut out on the hillside that allowed for the statues the first thing I noted was a white "wire" fence (think plaster when I say white) and a man's back. The statue was to appear to be facing out, perhaps even looking at the incredible view from his vantage point. As I came closer, the intake of breath happened almost before I truly comprehended what I was seeing. Behind the man lay numerous bodies on the concrete floor. All plaster white -- big, small, men, women, clothed and not. Stark. Just close enough to real to serve as the harsh reminder of man's inhumanity to man I'm sure it was created to be.
God, help us. Hate doesn't go away just because we create memorials.
So . . . no, I'm not on vacation. I want to see and write and wonder and maybe, just maybe, figure out my role in working away at that hate . . . one thought at a time.
God, help us indeed.