Tuesday, August 3, 2010


Everything has changed.

I live in a different place in a different city in a different state. I don’t go where I used to go. I don’t run into people I know everywhere I go (well, rarely – see the last post). Heck, I don’t even know how to go many places, but I’m learning.

Geographic transformations take time (though not nearly as much time as geologic transformations) and time is what I brought with me; time to start anew, time to rethink what the actor Ken Page once described so beautifully as “the cocktail hour of life.” So I’m taking my time.

“Oh – did I just push in front of you?” asked the man at the Upper Terrace Market, a few blocks from my apartment. We were standing in front of the beverage case.

“No,” I said. “I’m just moving slowly.”

He looked at me. “How do you do that?”

I laughed and said, “You get to be 62.”

He replied, “I just turned 40, and I recently fell down for the first time. I know I was moving too quickly, and I fell.”

We discussed how falling takes place in slow motion, how every second you are certain you will catch yourself – but you don’t. We discussed how you feel really stupid when you’re on the ground. We discussed how we are not the sort of people who expect to fall. We expect to get where we are going, and back, safely.

“I have on Birkenstocks, and that’s why I am moving slowly,” I said, pointing to my feet. “I didn’t want to take time to put on tennis shoes.”

He pointed to his feet. “I always wear tennis shoes. It’s safer.” Then he admitted that now that he has fallen for the first time, he figures it may happen again, at any time, regardless of what shoes he wears. “I’m only 40,” he said, “and I fell!” I assured him he had a lot of good years left.

We paid for our beverages, wished each other well and went our separate ways. I made it home, some three, maybe four blocks, all up hill. These walks to the mailbox and the market – and my new gym membership – may contribute to another sort of transformation. Especially now that I have thrown out half a box of those delicious Triple Peanut Cookies from Trader Joe’s.

When I walked in, the cell phone was pinging, to let me know I had a new email. The Kindle sat charging. And I remembered I wanted to send invitations to a couple of friends to download Skype.

This electronic transformation was not slow in coming. I arrived in San Francisco with a not-so-smart phone. Joel listed the advantages of a smart phone, and a few days later, I had one. The Kindle has intrigued me, a born book lover, from the beginning, and I’ve read a lot about them. Joel suggested that I borrow his Kindle for a few days. I read and read, quite happily, from the small plastic device. I read the New York Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, the New Yorker. I peeked at a couple of books Joel has downloaded. Then “The Good Guys” came on, and I’m a fan, so I put down the Kindle, but I am not ready to give it back.

I’m not new to Skype – Patricia and Joel called me on Skype when they were in New Zealand, and now I even have a web cam. Since I moved, I have been to two Skype parties – Judy’s birthday dinner and a gathering of my beloved Sherpa writing group. I’ve even given some Skype tours of my apartment for other friends in St. Louis. (Calling between Skypers is free.) I use Skype to interview people I am writing about (calling non-Skypers is inexpensive), and also to set up appointments, because sometimes the smart phone takes a break right in the middle of a call.

Not everything, of course, is different. I spend part of each day sitting at my desk, working on current assignments. I field emails from all over, on all topics – though lately many of them have been complaints, statements of outrage that it is 102 degrees in St. Louis and 57 degrees in San Francisco. I pull up maps, check on my bank balance and go in search of important information on the web, such as when “The Good Guys” will start up again in the fall.

Then I look out the window, and I am reminded that everything, after all, has changed.

1 comment:

  1. It sounds like you are having a wonderful time reinventing life. So many things change, and yet many things really do stay the same. Just be glad you are in the 57 degree range -- the other coast is just too hot all over!