Back to Basics


It’s that stressful time of the year for me. School is about to start. Add to that a bathroom that’s torn apart, the launch of a new book, being responsible for a new website and a professional conference trip on top of that and you can see why my wife was worried why I hadn’t smiled in a while.

The meetings I’m attending are in San Francisco, my old stomping grounds, which should bring a smile to my lips, but I had planned on working when I wasn’t learning something new. I spent last night working on a new book until I fell asleep last night, then got up at 3:30 and started working again. I paid $30 for a salad a dessert last night for dinner, then another $3o for breakfast this morning. The meeting this morning had no air conditioning. I needed a break. I decided to take a walk.

I’d realized something yesterday when I got off the subway coming from the airport. The station where I arrived at street level brought me to an escalator and a view that I had used for a photo that I had taken 40 years ago in college when I had taken photography. I retraced my steps to that very escalator and took the photo again with my iPhone and sent it to Shelly with the message, Does this look familiar?

And that got me thinking back to a time. Back before I was a professor. Before I was a writer, before I had the stresses of websites and conferences and bathrooms and even families to deal with. Back before I was even married. I wandered the streets of San Francisco, just as I had forty years ago, my hands in my pockets, absorbing the exotic sights, sounds, and smells of that wonderful city. Back to the young man I was before I became who I am today.

And for a moment, I was rejuvenated.

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