Sunday, October 23, 2011

Let's Meet in Phoenix

I wrote the following article for an travel writing course at MatadorU in the spring of 2011.  As I read it over, I thought of how fitting it is as we have been reflecting on Steve Jobs' life.

Let's Meet in Phoenix

I turn the bottle upside down, squeeze a dollop of hair control cream onto my hand and spread it evenly on my head.  I am thinking of the suitcase sitting on my bed and what is inside.  Will I need anything else?

My mind dashes ahead to the following week when I will be leaving again, next time to San Francisco to see my son. I remember a phone call from him the week before.

“Phoenix is hot.”

“Yes,” I said, “When were you in Phoenix?”

“Last week.”

“And what were you doing there?”

“Meeting my coworkers, playing poker, staying up late.”

Ryan described his trip to Phoenix.  He wanted me to look at the website of where he stayed.  He explained that he would probably be going to Phoenix once a month. He has just started a new job for another dot com company. He was excited; most of his jobs up to this point in his life he has had to stay put.   “Good for you,” I said.  I thought of how much he loved to see new places.

After I scrunch my hair, I walk into the kitchen.  I go to the fridge.  Leftovers this morning.  The last of the perishables.  I check my e-mail as I eat chicken salad.  It is late when I walk out to the car.  I grumble at the grey sky.   I am sure the sky is not grey in Phoenix.

The weather in Phoenix intrigued Ryan.  He did not think he would like the heat if he lived in Phoenix after living in San Francisco for over 2 years.  I had more to say about Sedona where I had gone two months before for a 4-day exploration.  Arizona was new to both of us.

The coffee is brewing when I get to work.  Andrea is setting up for the day’s workshop.

I go into the training room.  The tables are set up in a square.  I move the 10-foot wide white board to the back of the room.  The monstrosity’s redeeming feature is the rolling wheels.  It is after 9 when the participants arrive.  I am ready. At 1 o’clock, I play the video of Steve Jobs giving a commencement address.  Connecting the dots.  Love and loss.  Death.   Between his three stories, he explains that this gives us permission to love what we do.

I think of my son again.  What he shares with Steve Jobs is his love of computers.  His first job was working for Amazon in Seattle.  The day he moved to Seattle, I was there too, my first visit to the city.  My boyfriend and I had gone on a holiday together and it coincided with my son’s job start.  When he got off the plane, I met him by the luggage carousel.  “Welcome to your new home,” I said as if this was where I had always been.

The video ends.  The rest of the afternoon is a swirl of next plans and saying farewell.

When I get home at the end of the day, Cynthia is sitting on the couch with the cat. I change my clothes and we load the car.  Mary is ready when we pull up.  A bag of snacks and heavy bags.  The stuff of writers. When we pull up outside the Ymir Palace, a group has gathered around the entrance.  We hug our friends. Soon Randi arrives.  We finish our wine and walk down to the Ymir Hotel.  The Friday night jam session is in full swing.  We visit for an hour and a half until our food arrives.

I look at the table filled with skiers.  What would our lives have been like if my children never moved away?  Would they be with their friends drinking beer at the end of a snowy day in a pub in Ymir?  I think about Seattle, Phoenix and make a wish for other parallel experiences with my son.

The rain is falling when we go outside.  I walk up the hill to the former brothel with my 3 friends. Between us, we have 9 children who have gone off into the world.  All of them far away.  Leaving is a story that weaves its way around the globe. How many miles am I from where I was born?  And I wonder about this story that is repeated again and again.  What calls us out into the world?


Linda Crosfield said...

You do good blog, Patricia. Looking forward to the weekend.

Patricia said...

Thank you, Linda. I am honoured. You are an inspiration to me....