Carolina in my Mind
Get ready to pile on.
I've had a difficult week in real estate. Now some of you, namely Sandra Bullock, would respond to a difficult work week by hunkering down, identifying the reasons for the difficulties, and then formulate a logical plan to not only get past the present difficulties, but also to prevent them from every happening again. In this way, S. Bullock is the opposite of crazy.
She is also made of much sterner stuff than I. My response to this difficult week has been as follows:
Monday -- try to hide the stress from the Jawa, with whom I was sharing what appeared to be a carefree Spring Break day. During the run-up and afterward to seeing "The Wild," (Kiefer Sutherland's voice coming out of a lion. Creepy.) while the Jawa played at Metreon, I made 32 phone calls. Each call seemed to take me farther from resolution, rather than closer, and by the time my phone imploded -- while I was playing virtual bowl at the arcade -- my head felt like it was going to do a Linda Blair, then burst from inner pressure.
The poor Jawa. His Spring Break was compromised by my inability to handle pressure.
Tuesday -- confusing, because the four parties I was trying to put on the same page all seemed satisfied with what they were saying to each other. Unfortunately, they were all saying different things to me. After lunch, I took the Jawa to the zoo, where he showed me all of the animals. I felt my stress easing away, so I told the Jawa: "Thanks for helping me de-stress."
"Don't mention it, Dad."
I figured I'd make just one more phone call, which unfortunately served to restore my level of stress while making me look like a lousy workaholic dad (as if), yelling into the phone while his child tries to get his attention long enough to show him the Tapir, which has just emerged from its cement pond.
Today I figure I've done everything I can, and I've taken the tone of yesterday's final phone conversation as proof that I'm starting to fold under the pressure. So, rather than leap ahead like S. Bullock, instead I've shut things down, choosing to send a few emails and mentally go to North Carolina.
When the world here in San Francisco gets to be too much for me, I go to North Carolina, which to me is a place where you can get a nice house for $300,000, sit on your porch and rock back and forth, and then walk down the street to the bar, where a band made up of sincere young guys wearing plaid shirts is playing songs about girls they miss.
I know, I know; North Carolina is in the South(!), and, if I'm not mistaken, is a red state. Its Wal-Mart per capita is exceeded only by its Baptist Church per capita. It's got bugs, snow and extreme humidity, but I don't care. This is my own little flawed fantasy, so please don't wreck it with facts and/or opinions disguised as facts.
It's sort of like the reason I watch country music videos. They always seem to take place in sunny fields, or in some small town where mortgage brokers don't yell at you and nobody's going to get in your face because you threw your Coke can in the trash, not the recycling.
And before you all tell me why I wouldn't want to go to North Carolina, remember that I think Dayton would be a great place to live, too.
Now fortunately, I do have S. Bullock to remind me to get back on the horse. Though her reminders can be blunt, and my initial response to them can resemble that of a cornered mountain lion, I do appreciate her pragmatic approach to life, hers and mine. She has already given me loads of advice as far as how to avoid these problems in the future, how to cover my butt with my superiors, etc. It's all very useful, and as soon as I return from North Carolina, I will be sure to consider each and every one.
Ironically, the North Carolina I imagine probably resembles most the Pennsylvania I lived in as a little kid, only with fewer coal mines. And I've always maintained that, if done correctly, living in a city was not that different from living in a small town. More expensive, with more restaurants and stores. And crime.
Somewhere out there is North Carolina. I may be living in it right now, too myopic to figure it out as it stares me in the face. It might be here in San Francisco, or in Seattle, or Dayton, or even, God forbid, Phoenix, Arizona. One thing I know for certain, though, is that North Carolina is not at Edwards Air Force Base.
And I apologize for the title of this post. In reality, I can think of almost as many reasons to hate James Taylor as I can the Grateful Dead.