The Value of a Day Off

DSC_0213.jpgToday I woke early. I drove north and met my friend J in a pre-agreed parking lot. We left one car behind and drove north over the Golden Gate to the calm bay waters of Sausalito.

We took a standup paddleboard yoga class, ate brunch in the sun next to a pier, walked by the water, went for a hike. The weather was uncharacteristically and wonderfully warm: over seventy degrees, and note that today is still March. I’d been worried it would rain – it was raining last week. But it didn’t rain. It was perfect. Now I’m sitting in a coffee shop in an unusually sunny San Francisco, writing this while I wait to meet another friend for dinner. I feel pleasantly tired and totally content.

It’s so easy to feel like life is a blur; it’s so easy to feel like I’ll take a break as soon as things calm down. But things never do calm down, and anyway I thoroughly enjoy most of the not-calm. I just want days like today also.

And so I’m grateful for J, who has a similar willingness to take days off in the middle of the week, and a similar love of spending time by the water, combined with the good sense to mark those days off on our work calendars two months ahead of time, thereby ensuring we can actually make them happen.

That’s right, my Wednesday off from work was planned two months ago. Not the specifics – we just figured out a day that we thought would work, far enough ahead that there were no critical work things booked on it yet. Then we blocked it on Calendar, and as far as I know both promptly forgot about it until it got much much closer. Then we said, hey, can we still do this? And turned out we could, because we’d already blocked the time.

Magic.

Traffic poem

With apologies to Prufrock.

In Los Angeles, the roads,
the ancient highways, come and go –
like gods uncertain, like the weather
rule the if the how the whether –
steel and girders, tar and tears
gape and shimmy, stop for years.

The red-brown dust that settles on the window edge –
The red-brown dust that drifts in through the window-screen –

Let us go and make the drive
up and down the 405.
Let’s let fall the past and future present.
Let us go and loop through old town.
Let us find the world’s last sunset.

And indeed there will be silhouetted palm trees
set just so along the concourse.

Through Silicon Valley, new-packed bumpers
hard-won snarls and snags betray a nervous
churning dream of promise and advancement. Don’t look closely –
yet – the system! User traffic’s here a golden
gleaming gift of magic. Motion seethes on apps
and content. Yet – still hidden –
doesn’t ‘hooked’ just mean addiction?

The morning mist that waterfalls through mountain passes
the morning haze that blurs the eastern hills —

Let us go and make the drive – avoiding, always, 85.
Lanes shift sudden to and fro
and where the potholes stop, who knows?
Red-line motion knots the map. Cars and trains and planes bestride
the Golden State, its length, its wide and fertile farmland valleys.
Haven’t you yet found the car keys?

Up and down the ever-crowding state we go
drifting, restless, to and fro
while in medians the natives – plants, of course –
put down roots and stubborn purchase, fight for room to live.

I find the word ‘privilege’ to be triggering.

I find the word ‘triggering’ to be triggering.

Oh dear.

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