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September 11, 2017

Return to Oakland

In the morning, I get up go to the airpot. Today, I'm flying to Oakland.

Now, I park my motorcycle in the covered parking garage at DEN in Level 4 K West. And now, I have to think....where's the KTM? KTM is at LAX, but I'm going to Oakland. So, I won't have a motorcycle in Oakland. So, I don't need my riding gear, so I leave the helmet, gloves, jacket, pants on the bike.

I go through the pockets like a lunatic. If someone steals the gear, this is not a big deal. It's not really worth anything, and needs to be replaced anyway. But, I dig into the left pants pocket and pull out about $4,000 in my money clip. Don't want to leave that on the bike.

This weekend, I rode my bike over Guanella Pass. I didn't recognize any of it. Maybe 2-3 places I recognized, but mostly it was completely foreign. And I've been over that pass many times.

I board the flight, and I sit in 3A, on the plane at heading to Oakland.

It's hazy from the forest fires all over the country, so I don't shoot and fall asleep quickly.

When I wake, we're over the Central Valley. I start playing some music from my macbook air. I put some songs on it this weekend. It's the songs that Jennifer played on our trips to Mexico this year.

Everything fades. And, I could never remember these songs. Like, when she plays them, then I remember them, and I sing along. But that part of my brain that remembers the songs doesn't work. At all. Like, if you gave me a piece of paper, and said "write down the songs than Jennifer played", I couldn't do it. But, as I'm watching our videos that she shot with the GoPro, I see that we're both singing the songs, driving across the Yucatan or the Baja.

So, I downloaded some songs, and I play them now on my macbook air, as we're flying across the central valley. I don't like flying into Oakland as much as I like flying into SFO. The reason is that the approach is different, and I don't get to shoot the Cargill Salt Flats. I think that I'll start flying into SFO.

We land and taxi to Oakland. Before I deboard, I have to check out my seat like a lunatic. Nothing left behind. No helmet in the overhead bin. I've walked off the plane and left my helmet in the overhead bin before (at Ontario). I've also lost my glasses on the plane before. (I have 2 pair. Don't ask.)

But I deboard and I'm walking down the terminal, and I know this airport well, and I'm expecting to see some stores come into focus, but they don't. And the longer I walk, the more I realize that this airport doesn't fit my mental image of it. At all. Slowly, it dawns on me...I was thinking of LAX, and I'm in OAK. That's why it doesn't match. OK. Got it. Carry on.

I hop onto BART and head towards downtown oakland.

Now, the texts start coming in. John isn't coming in. His team is remote this week. So, John, Natalie, and Sapna won't be in. Natalie and Sapna live across the bay in Oakland.

But, at work, they're redoing the lobby. So, I walk in, and the entire lobby is framed out in sheetrock, so it's very disorienting. I walk around and end up at a starbucks, and then I see Ed Ferrari. "Hey...how's it going?" Last time I was in Oakland, we had dinner together. Some things I remember.

But most things I don't recall that well.

I stop into an office when I see Ragu. One of the people in the office was with me at UCLA, apparently. And took a photo of me sitting on the couch with my feet on the coffee table. On my iphone. Because I asked him to. Like...I don't recall that. And I have the photo.

Gorda comes in on the 7th floor, and she starts talking to me like we're best friends. "Y'all are back. Yay." I look around nervously. I don't really recall ever speaking to her, but I must have at some point. These conversations are hard to fake. Like..you're just making it up out of whole cloth. I think that she lives in Canada.

So, I sit down in my office, turn on the fan. Close the blinds so that the sun over lake merritt isn't too warm on my shoulders. And start another work day. Not sure why I'm here. Or what I'm supposed to be working on. It's all just sort of, you fake it and act like you know what's going on. Don't speak until spoken to. Try to do all of your communication through email, and take notes like a lunatic.

I will say this, though. They should have counseling for people that are single and send their only kids off to college. It's like the worst breakup you can imagine. Michelle and I were only married for 7 years, and I don't think either one of us was glad to see the other one go.

But now, it's different. Now, a kid you brought into this world, that's been your best friend for 19 years, disappears like snow in the springtime. Yesterday, I rode my 2017 Honda Africa Twin by the little stocked pond where she and I used to catch trout when she was knee-high to a grasshopper. And, only now, can I see the pond for what it is. It's just this stupid little square pond, not very big. You could probably throw a rock across it. And, you realize that the pond is nothing. The fish are nothing. It was the fusion of me, her, the pond, and the fish. And, as you start to pull away, you see things more clearly. This is not good. I'm a grown man, riding my motorcycle down the road, crying like a baby.

Posted by Rob Kiser on September 11, 2017 at 12:20 PM


But then the next stage comes...adult to adult and life perks up. :)

Posted by: sl on September 12, 2017 at 1:13 AM

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