Monday, May 28, 2012

On Saturday coming back from The City (San Francisco) to The Town (Oakland), a man sat down next to me on the BART with two large noisy shopping bags from Ross. As the train moved along he pulled pairs of shoes out of these bags, examining them, maybe admiring them, peeling the price reduction stickers off the price tags, and sticking these stickers to the back of the seat. About five minutes into this process he told me his story: he buys shoes from Ross at a discounted price and then resells them for a profit. Buy low sell high. It keeps me out of trouble, he said and continued to pull the stickers off the tags while talking to me. I didn't mind. He showed me how to carefully pull the stickers off the tag, and then revealed that in the store he would replace stickers with the ones he pulled off from other items. So instead of paying thirty dollars for a pair of shoes, he might only have to pay $9.98 once he covers up the old sticker. One of his stickers was for $.49 cents. "It's not stealing if you're paying something at the register." I told him I would think about that, and I did. 


Happy Memorial Day. Thank you soldiers/sailors/pilots etc. No thanks to the silly people and decisions that lead us there. This is my last week in the White House and don't want to make you uncomfortable with the sentimental details (too many goodbyes to mention) of what happened this last week and this upcoming one, but come June 5th, Dara and I are off for New Mexico to write and read and take a break from city living for a couple months before I head to Indiana for the next FIVE YEARS. Wonderful! But I'm not sure how much internet I will be doing over the summer, and want to let you know that this blog is not going to be on any kind of schedule. Posting will be sporadic and infrequent until September when school and my days get locked down. But don't worry, I will not stop. And now that I've said something I'll probably go and do the exact opposite. And besides, there's always the hawk cam (they are getting much bigger these days).

But I do want to say one thing about leaving, that this time, having lived in many places and left many places, this time the response has been different. Unlike say, leaving college or Portland or the east coast or wherever, instead of see you later, I'm getting a lot of, "have a nice life." Not flippantly or coldly, but without the illusion that I'm going to see many of these people ever again. Of course I hope I do but this set of goodbyes and good wishes feels much more final than it has in the past. Statements of gratitude in place of future plans. Maybe it's because we're all older, and at this point, we know better. A kind of wisdom that doesn't anxiously keep the window of possibility open and instead, accounts for our progress thus far. Or maybe it's because I know, and they know, that I won't be coming back. Of course I'm not going to admit that to myself, even if it's true. I can't bear that kind of finality and besides, it's silly to worry about life beyond Purdue at this point. Regardless, I will miss my friends, students, neighbors, occupiers, homeless people, gangsters, tourists, ballers, lake birds, meditators, foodies, card players, smokers, drivers, bikers, the 72R, the DMV, my landlord, record stores, book stores, happiness, Mt. Diablo, sunsets, ocean air, the Hetch Hetchy reservoir, biodiesel, stability, sunshine and all things California. Long live California! All hail California!