When I woke up this morning, I was this cheerful green tree on the left. By noon, I was the tree on the right.
It was either quit my job, or go get some art therapy at lunch. So I did.
It was exquisite. You have two more weeks. I beg you to go see it.
After that, don’t you know, the day continued to devolve on several key fronts. But when I wasn’t putting out fires, I was thinking about Africa. I was thinking about anywhere, actually, but where I am. So help me, one of these days I am going to hop on the next train that slows down and blows its whistle a block from my office. That whistle tears me up, on days like today. I’m always sure I could make it if I run.
My friend Gracie took me to Fullsteam after work with the girls. Gracie behaved very nicely at Fullsteam, other than spinning a complex spiderweb of leash around me and pretty well pinning me to the table while trying to make friends with other dogs and pirate food from underneath toddlers’ high chairs.
It took me no time at all to decide what I wanted.
I left the universe a note about the newest beer on the bar.
Damned if I didn’t just get back from vacation. There is no travel in my immediate future, at least, not the far-flung kind I suddenly want desperately. It’s not that I need to go away for long. I love to travel, and love to come home; love to travel farther, and stay home longer; love to travel to exotic places, and then come home and get lost in my neighborhood garden patch. I’m a grown-up. I know that running away from the things that are bothering you only means that you carry the same things to new places, where they continue to bother you. All of the catastrophes I’m juggling this week will turn out fine. Not today. But eventually.
Anyway, I’m not going anywhere. But I decided to make this my happy place for a few days, since Africa’s been on my mind. I’m up there right now, at least in my heart:
It’s one of my favorite places in this great big world. It’s the rooftop lounge of my all-time favorite hotel, in one of the most fascinating cities anywhere, in which all the rooms but this one were sold out for the music festival I went to, so I slept in the giant Zanzibar bed and pretended I was an Arabian princess. It was a thousand degrees on the street in the afternoons, being pretty much the equator and all, but my friends and I would climb the stairs to the roof, take drinks out of the refrigerator on the porch, and stretch out on the lounge chairs in the shade with our books. There was a stiff sea breeze, and the sounds of laughing children in the streets below. Greg and Kate would actually read, and I would lounge across the three chairs in between them, not quite sleeping, not quite awake, just happy to be perched high in this beautiful spot with a cold drink and people I loved.
As far as places on the other side of the world go, it’s a pretty great one, and that is where my mind will be until I feel like being where I belong. You can come with me. There’s room up there for all of us.