Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Ego Trip

It may be too soon to say, but so far this vacation has been a real jolt for my ego. I'll be back to normal in Hoboken by this time next week, but the month of February was full of unexpected adventures.

I thought it would be a time for contemplation, writing, reading, and visits with old friends, but from the first this one held promise of other things that are still in progress. I drove to Florida for a book talk and met some wonderful people in the process. I stayed overnight in a lovely guest cottage and had a great meal with congenial people--and the audience for my informal speech came prepared and asked intelligent questions. Having that kind of attention can make one feel very important.

Arriving back at home base, I found myself with lunch dates, coffee dates, and parties in my honor all month long. Two men from my distant past--childhood, in fact--approached me to talk about possible relationships in the future. With another friend, I saw one of the best movies of the year (Crazy Heart). The weather cooperated as best it could in February; temperatures were chilly, some nights going as low as the high 20's, but there was lots of sun and most days the high was in the 50's.

After a day or two I got I realized my computer was on the wane, and called upon my computer-expert friend here to help me clean out the trash. In the process the hard drive gave out completely and I had to buy a new laptop. This oddly affected my ability to write. I was too occupied with the mechanics of operating the new laptop to stimulate my creative urges. Maybe that's a copout, but that's the way it worked out. I wrote a few blog posts but started no major literary works.

I have a new laptop anyway, and had a lot of stimulating talks, and have a great deal more material for anything I might want to write in the future. And, okay, I know you want to know about the two men. I spent a day with one, talking about old times and found that he has grown up to be a wonderful human being. He is much as he was as a child, and I looked on him as a brother even then. I don't see the future holding anything more, but it is nice to have reconnected with a long-lost brother. The other man just left, after a nice meal and a good long talk. He hugged me and said, "Thanks for being a friend." Hmmm. Nothing in the world wrong with that. A little disappointing, perhaps, but in my eternally optimistic mind, the door is not completely shut.

The vacation is drawing to an end with a lot of promise. I've relaxed, indulged myself, looked at my life, and touched base with a number of special people in a number of ways. When I get to Hoboken Monday afternoon, there will a lot of snow on the ground, and it will still be winter. But I can carry the touch of spring in my heart, the spring that is Fairhope all the time.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Letter From Fairhope

The first day I woke up and took a walk to the bay, camera in hand. Weather was what I expected--February here is not exactly like summertime--and the quiet old neighborhood had changed little in two years. But the view of the little pier and the sound of the ever-constant lapping of waves wove their eternal spell of peace and promise. I knew I had made a good decision.

Soon things began happening. Phone calls, lunch dates, a trip to nearby Florida for a book talk. All the while the temperature in the low 50's with an occasional dip and people apologizing to me for it. One night it actually was 27 degrees and snow was forecast for the next day. In some nearby towns there was an accumulation, but the snow we saw in Fairhope only lasted about five minutes and melted before it hit the ground.

My computer, which had showed signs of serious illness before I left Hoboken, was in the process of being repaired by a friend when we looked out the window and saw the flakes. He had spent Christmas with his family in Tulsa where there had been a big storm, and I, let's face it, had just escaped the blizzard conditions in Hoboken. We smiled at the Lower Alabama snow and went about trying to reassemble the computer, complete with a new hard drive.

Then the bad news. The new hard drive did nothing to resuscitate the computer. It wouldn't open. Back to the computer shop for major repairs on Saturday. Being the weekend, I would be waiting for a decision for a few more days.

Being without a computer in this day and time is like living without one of one's major organs. You do what you can to survive, knowing that people are trying to communicate with you, but immobilized. I didn't have everybody's phone number, and apparently nobody had my cell phone number. But, unlike the patient missing an organ, I knew a computer transplant was on the way and I would be up and running in a matter of days.

Bad news got badder. The old computer was not salvageable and I would have to buy a new one. Luckily I could do this without major financial hardship, and luckily I knew all along that the old one was probably surviving on borrowed time. However, even knowing this, I had not been smart enough to back up all my data and many great literary works will be lost to posterity as I don't even remember what I had started to write. I still have the old hard drive, and, if it becomes necessary, can pay to have the data retrieved--but I have the feeling that's not going to happen. I'm having too much fun with the new toy to recall what I loved so much about the old one. There may be a lesson in there somewhere, but I don't know what it is.

I'll probably post a time or two on my Fairhope blog before I leave on the first of March. I'm just hoping the weather holds out here...and that when I get back some of the snow will have melted there and spring will be on the way in New Jersey and New York.

In all, I'm having a wonderful time. I wish you were here.