Cityshock and re-entry
June 7, 2013
We undertook our most harrowing adventure of all the day before we came back to Maui—driving through downtown San Francisco, during rush hour, to go to the Star Trek movie. Our urban assault Jeep was put through its paces as Mike navigated the maze of one-way streets throttled by construction, clotted with streams of humanity and deafening with the clang of trolleys, taxis, autos and buses.
Caleb, our son, sat in the back and provided navigation support along with Lady Google who, in her refined GPS voice, said, “Turn left on Geary.”
“I can’t turn left! There’s no left turn!” Mike said for the hundredth time. Later he said he was proud of me, I didn’t do any of my usual gasps, groans and sissy-handle grabs.
“I was too terrified to move,” I said. “I had my eyes shut, making my peace with God.”
Anyway, we eventually ran sweatily into the space-age modern IMAX 3D theater fifteen minutes late and were hurtled into space in a movie that deserves all the kudos it’s getting, an experience I was certain we’d never have opportunity for again (nor could our overloaded systems handle it!)
Afterward, the choked traffic was better getting back to the Cliff House where we were meeting Tawny and her boyfriend, an engineer at Google, for dinner. He’d taken us on a walkabout the Google “campus” the day before, and I swear they pump extra oxygen into the atmosphere there.
There’s a feeling of energy and fun at Google. It’s like an amusement park with an underlying intensity that seems to sharpen the already-bright colors of the fleet of employee bikes for going between buildings in the vast complex. We ate from the free, delicious employee “food court” featuring numerous multinational foods and watched employees working out in some of the many gyms, swimming in the lap pool and playing beach volleyball or running sprints with parachutes on.
“Do they need a therapist?” I asked. He’s a handsome quiet genius with beautiful manners who always looks a little startled by my (legendary) directness.
“We don’t have those on staff. We do have a massage therapist, though.”
“Shoot, I don’t do that kind. Divorce, family problems, mental illness, stress management, creativity blockage—I do all those and I’m sure Google is riddled. C’mon, they need me,” I joked.
And indeed, Google would be a cool place to work. I was impressed with the whole overwhelming enchilada of it. “Is there anyone here over forty?” Mike asked.
We knew that.
Anyway, we gave our camping gear to our kids Tawny and Caleb, who are doing their own National Parks trip and left yesterday. If you care to, you can follow their adventures here: http://tawnycaleb.blogspot.com/ I’m so proud of them!
Mike and I got on the plane and got home to ecstatic dogs and our home in great shape thanks to the care of our awesome renters. Liko still had some pent-up anger about his desertion, and decided to eat his hot dog toy right by my feet.
Here’s an update on the rash I struggled with the whole trip: it’s continued to be a nightmare. The culture the nice doc in Utah did came back as a rare form of subcutaneous staph, resistant to antibiotics. In a miraculous awesome working of the health care system, the Utah doctor actually called me about the results and told me on the phone, catching me in San Francisco and calling in an antibiotic prescription to the Walgreens on the corner by our hotel, the historic Seal Rock Inn. I cried I was so relieved to have an answer.
Home now, I’ve been dealing with getting the culture faxed to my doctor, getting examined again because it was still getting worse and I’d begun to feel sick and weak. Doubled up on antibiotics and prednisone to help the inflammation, I’m feeling better today and ready to talk about it now that I’m pretty sure I’m not hospital-bound. I’ve canceled my therapy work and I’m hunkered down in my office working hard on the Twisted Vines rewrite.
That leads me to something I want to share—my readers are wonderfully relentless. All through the trip I was getting messages, emails and comments:
“We’re glad you’re having fun, Toby, but where’s the next book?”
“Nice blogging, Toby, but are you working on the next book?”
“Nice pictures Toby, hope they’re inspiring the next book!”
I just have to laugh, and love it. What a great pressure to have. My readers’ passion for the series is fuel to me, highly motivating. It’s been great to have taken time off from the books even while flexing my writing muscles through the discipline of blogging. I'm excited to dive back in, and thanks to my infection, I have three full people-free days to focus on the Twisted Vines rewrite.
Thanks to all of you who cared, commented, prodded, encouraged, followed and shared.
I’m truly blessed.
P.S. to any worried about my contagiousness: low risk. I'm mainly contagious to myself, according to my doctor.