Yes, I know that's Bill & Ted. But I really wanted an image for my post, so these guys will have to do.
San Diego was beautiful today. The sun was peeking out of the clouds, the breeze was at a steady niceness, people were strolling the streets. My plan had been to get here, take a nice, long run along the water, find the great foodie spot in Little Italy that Amy had recommended, and wander the streets exploring for the day. What actually happened was the following brilliant string of chance meetings, which I wouldn't have changed for the best cocktail at any bar.
Last night during a fleeting moment preparing for TheVoice, my phone inadvertently flung across the room and smashed on the floor. It had been cracked to smithereens already, but this was the last straw. The screen turned into a million glitchy colored lines, like it was having a seizure, and five minutes later, it gave up the will to live. So, my errand for the day was to find an AT&T store to see if I could find a replacement. "Hello, my name's Franklin! Wow, you sure seem like a sweet person, I'm lucky today!" He was charming, this young man in a blue shirt, afro and a beard, sparkling eyes, shining spirit; and I had to admit, I felt lucky too! An hour later, after talking about the state of America, South African politics, lions, Columbia University scandals, and a myriad of other topics, Franklin White, the young black man who just completed the process of changing his name from Franklin Glory, (and welcomed the comments it would bring) shook my hand and bid me farewell, and I left smiling into the sunny day.
I stopped by a cafe and bought a cold bottled Starbucks frapuccino, went to my room, and proceeded to pass out on my bed while my JamBox played a favorite DJ stream from SoundCloud. Blurry eyed, I woke up, did some leg lifts that my brother had recommended to strengthen my back, popped in some push ups and some warrior ones, then laid back down, trying to get my head out of the fog it was in. I decided to swing downstairs to find some food, and maybe grab a glass of wine to help fuel my writing juices, as I really wanted to spend time blogging tonight and needed a kick out of my zombie mode. As luck would have it, there was one spot open at the bar, and I squeezed in. I almost moved because the guy to my left felt it was unnecessary to turn his phone to silent as the stream of annoying text twangs kept flooding in, totally oblivious to anyone around him, even though I tried to make it clear by staring at him at each twang in hopes to alert him to his lack of phone etiquette. To my delight, the gentleman to my right turned and said hello, distracting me from Mr. Michigan (as I would soon find out he was from). Bill was a charming, jolly presence, eyes radiating the joy of life, even though his first words when I asked him how he was were "Well, I'm HERE!" I said, "and by that you mean....?!", half expecting him to say what my mom always says when commenting on growing older..."it beats the alternative!!" she says, eluding to the fact that being 'here' and alive is better than being 10 feet under... Bill was just tired of flying. He had been flying for so many years, he said, but within his 'complaint' was a glow that suggested, 'yeah, but it's all worth it!'. I could relate. Bill introduced his friends Jim and Tim, and I smirked... Tim left shortly, but Jim stayed, and we all got into discussing their field of work, which is biotechnology. Fascinating, I was so happy to have some real, intelligent (but surprisingly fun) conversation about the state of affairs in the biotech world. Jim scooted closer to explain how he was working on a project where bacteria have a cage fight/WWF bout of sorts, battling it out to see which one would could fight the bad guys best. In short, I was sitting next to men who were out to change the world through making our food safer, saving lives. Yet, they seemed as humble and charming as anyone; Bill, with his slight southern drawl, and Jim with his soft intensity.
I couldn't have been more pleasantly surprised with how my evening turned out, even though I skipped my workout, stayed indoors, and did not find the infamous whipped ricotta and honeycomb dish Amy had raved about. And I am reminded (yet again) how much I appreciate this life, the job I have, the twists in the road, the simple pleasures of being human and sharing the human experience with others; strangers or not. As I lie down to sleep, I recall this morning at 7 am walking to the Muni at home, noticing that I was extra appreciative of the day... walking in the brisk morning air, having a beautiful city to walk through, a great trip ahead of me, and even greater plans coming up for the next month... but mostly I was in the moment. It was a beautiful feeling to be completely present, only focusing softly on the steps I was taking and the air I was strolling through. And as I fall asleep tonight, I am also thankful for the inspiration to sit and write tonight. I only wish I had snapped a photo of my friends to post here as well. Bill, Jim, thanks for making my night fun, and I wish you all the success in the world with your worthy venture.