Thanksgiving

Mercury is retrograding me.

It’s like the rewind/ replay button on the worn out, over-played cassette player of my life is stuck and the tired plastic of the cassette tape has lost it’s magnetic pull and is slowly being chewed up by the ancient gears of the dusty machine. It still plays, warped, for sure; I recognize the tunes.

My ipad metled down twice in two days. My substitute at work, who was supposed to cover me for part of my vacation, bailed the same day that my friend who was supposed to watch my dog cut out. A person I was certain was like no other I’d ever met, in the best possible way, turned out to be the doppleganger of a person I was certain was like no other in the worst possible way. From the outside, they are complete opposites, but they share the same core.

At the Milwaukee airport, I had a short lay-over, during which I was hoping to pee, drink coffee, flirt, and knock another state of my dating list. Instead, I comforted my mother who can’t hear but refuses to get a hearing-aid, and repeated every answer to her questions twice. Which took twice as much time.

Twice as much time.

At least, I got to pee.

Play. Rewind. Repeat.

Now I’m in San Francisco in a cheap hotel room, where the water has two temperatures, scalding or lukewarm, and my neighbor’s television mutters loudly through the wall.

My plans fell through, which I saw happening in slow motion a mile away, and so I arrived without plans, without expectation, to walk the city streets and watch the grainy film of a few important chapters of my life edited together in artistic short form.

There are more ghosts there than I realized.

I lived here when I was  a mere hobbyist at life, before I discovered that life itself is a finely crafted, improvisational art form. I shied away from the city back then, sequestered in the safety of the circus of Berkeley, but, I worked here. I flew on the trapeze here. I played a worm in a film here. I fell in young love and hid that love in a drawer in my heart out of fear on these city streets.

Years later, I fell in love with a man I thought I was going to marry here. We both lived in L.A. and that was the weekend that changed everything. Clearly, everything changed again.

I’ve been here for work. Many times.

And, here I am again.

My hotel is a block from the Monaco Hotel, a portal into my past. I’ve eaten at three tables at the Grand Cafe four times. I fell in love there, too, celebrated Christmas in the hotel one year. Last night, I met a high school friend I haven’t seen in twenty years or so, and then a Berkeley friend I’ve known for almost as long. The ghosts smile slyly from corners and under tables. They’ve known me for a while, they’ve watched me grow. Their fingers are poised over the rewind button of my life, smiling at me every time I walk out the door of my cheap hotel and look down the hill.

It’s Thanksgiving morning and I’m sitting on my bed typing, since there’s nowhere else to sit. I’ve had a cup of coffee, and the last of chocolates I bought for my friend. I’m looking at this west coast trail of love, friendship, and personal history that snakes from The Monaco and across the city.

This is what I think: it’s easier to give thanks for the what’s been and the past that has gifted us with the present than it is to give thanks for what we don’t know and the what’s to come.

Somedays, easy is good.

Today, Mercury’s looking backwards and moving forwards in the sky, somewhere out there, replaying the movie of my life, grainy, transparent, slow motion, with aggressive cuts and a killer sound track. I give thanks that somewhere at the back of a top shelf in a closet in the universe, there is a box of cassette tapes, worn out and over-played for sure. And, I’m thankful that Mercury has chosen on of the best ones in the bunch to play on his road trip.

Who needs an ipad and earphones anyway, when you have a boom box playing your song?

***

Happy Thanksgiving, friends!

I’m thankful that I have things to be thankful for everywhere I look.

3 thoughts on “Thanksgiving

  1. Don’t take it personally, the retrogradient thing, the retrogradation of Mercury. It affects us all, whether or not we choose to believe in such things. And remember, you can’t re-wind, until you already been wined.

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