Monday, October 19, 2009

Dear Honda Civic,

I'll miss you. You were there for me when I needed a lift, both physically and metaphorically. You came into my life when it had hit a teeth-jarring pothole and trusted me to be in the driver's seat. I remember the first day I had you, glad I wasn't taking the bus anymore in a city not conducive to public transportation. It had taken me two hours and two bus transfers to get to the dealership. The last four blocks of that I'd listened to a delusional woman tell me how Stephen Spielberg had raped her. I practically ran out at my stop, and there you were waiting for me, ready to offer me solitude with a 360 degree view.

At the time you picked me up, everything was falling apart around me. You made sure that I continued to go forward and kept my eyes on the road. You drove me and my two cats from Los Angeles to Baltimore, crossing mountains, vast deserts, endless flat terrain, grassy rolling hills and wooded forests that birthed us into into giant canyons. You rolled with me into quiet towns and gasped with me at the F-15 fighter that flew across the interstate at almost eye-level just hundreds feet in front of us. You idled stealthily to keep the cats cool in the desert heat because I just had to go see that huge-ass meteor crater in Arizona. Only you and I knew that I'd left one door unlocked because I had only one key. You drove 2850 miles of interstate and held your own against 18-wheelers and Smokey the Bear. Once in Baltimore, you withstood your very first winter like you were born for it, including the record-breaking snowfall that buried you completely and left you stranded for a week. You endured torrential rains, drove like a ship through flood water up to your mirrors and weathered a hurricane that pushed a tree onto you. You merely brushed yourself off and kept on going. It was an example for me on the days where I felt I just couldn't start.

You welcomed in so many souls whom I'm glad that I met and still know. You protected me from those who should stay out. You kept me warm and dry, cooled me off, offered me solace in times where I needed it.

And once I was ready, after my stepdad made sure you were up to the job, you drove me and my cats back to Los Angeles, except this time we had another passenger. My dad, whom we picked up in Asheville. You got to know him, and he you. You let him drive and me sleep, and vice versa and were always ready to go when we were. You got us there in one piece, which included a fierce windstorm in the desert. Again, you were an example of when the going gets tough, the tough keep going, tumbleweeds be damned.

You were a fantastic, wonderful little car. You spent some of the most difficult, poignant times of my life with me and carried me right through to the much better place that I am now.

It was hard for me to say goodbye today. But, I know you understand. And, that you knew I was ready.

Thanks for the memories, my 1997 Honda Civic. I'll never, ever forget you.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

My trip to New York was great. I had a lot of time to myself as well as bonded with coworkers, most of whom I've never met. I'd luckily grown a brain before the trip and purchased a small suitcase with wheels. I can't imagine how I would have fared without it. Again, at a bargain from Marshall's. I was able to prop my laptop up on the suitcase and wind the strap around for a perfect double-decker fit. Instant mobility, even in New York, even on the subway and even when navigating through hoards of people and tables on the new plaza that stretches down Broadway near Times Square. I stopped at a Starbucks where a man got up from his seat to open the door for me and the barista brought my drink to me from behind the counter instead of yelling it out. Yes, this is still New York City that I'm talking about. I was treated incredibly nicely by the people that I ran into. Almost like a guest. But the great part about it was that I'd lived there and knew my way around, even though a lot of the functionality of things had changed. And, the price of the subway.

I stayed at the Brooklyn Bridge Marriott in Brooklyn, near where our event was happening. I had never spent a lot of time in Brooklyn and really liked it. Wider streets, quieter during the day and wonderful old buildings. Lofts, shiny high rises and renovations are abound, with streets closed off for blocks to accommodate the construction. I think if I ever were to move back to New York, I'd highly consider Brooklyn. There's an intimacy and sense that the place exhales once in a while, unlike Manhattan.

Our event went really well, with Morningwood rocking the house after a successful day of showing press the incredible possibilities of our software. I'd never seen it in action and was pretty blown away myself. The night before the event, we'd all eaten at Grimaldi's, which Zagat rated the best pizza in New York. It was damn good. There was a half hour wait for a table outside the door, which had a strict policy that if your whole party isn't there when you reach the front, you don't get a table until they get there. And, they don't sell by the slice. The place was boisterous and packed, without a hint of pretension despite its fame.

Me in my hotel room - Brooklyn Bridge MarriottAfter eating New York's best pizza, I went back to my room and took this. I was ready for bed and anxious for what the next day held for us. It was our first of these events and therefore I had no idea what to expect. However, I slept fine that night. More pics from the trip are on my Flickr account.

The day after the event, it was time to go home, which included a series of train rides back to JFK. In the subway station in Brooklyn, an Orthodox Jewish man stood and rocked slightly as he prayed, holding a book of prayers written in Hebrew. It was too small to be a Torah, so I'm not sure what the book was. We all boarded the train and he found a space by the door where he continued to rock. The train rolled forward, swaying back and forth as it gained momentum, and suddenly we were all rocking with him, as if swept up in the fervor of his devotion.

On the plane, finally tired of the two big Russian body builders talking directly behind me in Russian and laughing way too loudly after way too many beers, I turned around and shushed them to the looks of gratitude from the other passengers. I just got tired of them. They were huge, but I didn't care. They seemed harmless and appeared to be decent guys, but were just way too loud.

I got home to hot, hot weather but was glad to be home. Los Angeles is such a sharp contrast to New York, and it was weird, as it was to get into New York. That night, I went to Starbucks and looked down at my shoes that had walked on two coasts in one day and marveled at the concept.