December 3, 2008

There Was a Moment

Looking forward out a trolley car window. 2008.

Himself: I love it when he says he had a good day.

Herself: I had a good day too.

Balance: Found another perfect book for granddaughter Anna in Spain at Amvets, the only problem being that we have already sent her one for the holiday.
There was a moment after I had hied myself downtown and actually found the 20 bus that I thought I had it made. Getting downtown was no problem and finding where the 20 rested was easy enough. Once we got started, I actually lifted my head up from my book every once in a while and recognized spots along the way.

There was a moment after the bus had run a red light and had passed through WWII era military buildings that I recognized from childhood, when I looked up and didn’t know where I was. There was that moment when my eye saw nothing but miles of brand new buildings and nothing I recognized as in my reality. The generic businesses like Denney’s, Arcos, Vons, Ralph’s, and Longs anchored an unknown paradise I’d never seen before.

I waited until the bus became stalled in a traffic jam and approached the driver. Holding my Google Map printout where he could see it, I asked him if he had stops going up this long, long hill on Camino del Norte. Not mentioning, of course, that I was totally lost in this North County unknown land.

Then I had to give it all away.

“I’ve never been here by bus before,” I told him probably with a bit of embarrassment in my face. “I’ve driven up here with my husband,” pointing with a finger at the map.

“On yes,” he said. “There’s a stop right here at the top of the hill. I’ll let you know when I reach your stop.

I have a blogging friend named Ruthe who has been jaunting through China and now Japan. She just seemingly hops on a bus here or bullet train there, and always seems to get off at the right garden or museum. There’s only been a moment or two of insecurity when she felt lost. Calling these moments “serendipitous,” she just moves on into the moment. I wish I could have this surety when I travel.

Yesterday my lost felt like a totally out of body experience.

Then again, there were several moments of certainty yesterday too. I found the right knit shirt at Amvets, daughter Marie found us, we took her and Mmmm out to dinner where G distracted this energetic 3 year old with an hours worth of laughter while Marie did an interview.

Questions like, “When did you know you wanted to be an artist?” I would answer, “One afternoon at the Clark’s house. I drew a kite that looked like a kite. It was so very exciting. I was four years old, and from then on I always knew what I was going to do with my life.”

Moments like these carried us through until we tucked them into their tiny cottage in the dark and drove home where we discovered a bag of new-used clothes for Mmmm had been left behind.

This morning, there was another one of those moments when our local newspaper, which is a Republican rag and not fully to be trusted, announced that the “City of San Diego Service Centers” were not to be closed after all. My writing workshop is held in one of these Service Centers. Does this mean our class will continue here despite the vagaries of the economy? Or does this mean that now we wait on the peccadilloes of our exiting City Attorney to close or not to close these centers. I’ll be in class this morning to discover these moments for myself.


  1. I'm more like your friend then you are. When entering a new bus or train on a route I've never taken before, I usually ask two fellow passengers whether they know if this bus/train goes to stop XX. If they affirm this fact, I usually just sit back and relax; knowing that even if the bus goes somewhere else, it nearly always comes back to the place of origin. So, I'd miss an appointment, at least I'd be on an adventure. Also, in my experience bus drivers are a helpful lot. They might make you feel stupid for getting on the wrong bus, but they will tell you how to get back home.

  2. Mage,
    It isn't that I am always comfortable when I get on a strange conveyance. Don't forget, just as I don't photograph everything, I don't always write everything. Also, I am living out of time, in the sense that I know few people here, have no time constraints and no commitments. So it doesn't matter where or when I arrive. There is always a card with the hotel name in my pocket, and fortunately, enough money for a taxi, in the worst case.



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