It’s been a week of low plateaus. I’ve been hiding in my cocoon of silence, loathe to emerge from the comfort of my shell.
But I’ve managed to pull myself up for a couple of alts, and that felt good. One was being drawn into nice long chats with a couple of friends. It made me realize I miss the human interaction that comes from talking face to face. The other was surprising another friend with a selection of dozen books (she’s temporarily housebound). This was not altogether altruistic: my bookshelves are overflowing, so my loan of books to her is de facto her loan of storage space to me.
Another was submitting a short piece for a travel anthology. I only started writing it this afternoon. It was due today, but with the wizardry of technology and my liberal interpretation of ‘today’, I submitted it via email at 11 PM, a whopping hour well before the ‘deadline’. Hey I tried. I looked up the publisher’s website for more details, but didn’t find any, oddly enough. I had heard about the call for submissions (I almost wrote ‘call for projects’ in a Freudian work slip) from a newsletter.
I’ve been feeling like fraud lately when I tell people I’m doing travel writing, because I really hadn’t written in a long time, so, even if it doesn’t get published, at least I’ve got the sense of accomplishment. Ideas percolated for a week, and but I procrastinated starting and chugged it out in a few hours , like the classic high school student who starts the 10 page essay the night before it’s due. (In this case, it was a thousand words)
I perform better under pressure. In this case, particularly, since I had too many ideas, with the crunch of time I narrowed it down focus sharply on one thing. It was not the piece I expected to write, but I’m satisfied enough. Now that it’s over, maybe there’s still enough motivation to carry over into writing my piece of original intent. (The premise of the call for submissions was quite intriguing.)
Last night we went to Joe’s company annual dinner, which was at the Blackhawk Auto museum. Neither of us had high expectations of it, but at least it we would see the museum for free, and it gave me a chance to wear a new outfit that I had reckless splurged on. The cars were fantastic: we really regretted not bringing a camera. Most memorable: a wooden car, and a purple Rolls Royce. (I wonder if Hong Kong’s Brenda Chau would ever consider donating her pink Rolls Royce to this museum?) The party was actually quite fun, we danced for most of the night, since they played music we liked. And nobody parties like the Russians, with open bar! My feet were quite sore, even though I had worn my relatively ‘comfortable’ shoes! I was actually balking at Joe’s request to the DJ for ‘Bizarre Love Triangle.’
The catering was done by Scott’s Seafood. Nothing to write home about, except for a very good salad with blood oranges and pomegranate seeds. (OK: the lows were bready fried shrimp hors’ d’oeuvres and overcooked salmon and chicken breast.) So afterwards, we wanted to go to Café Ophelia for siu-yeh, but even in Milpitas, they’re not open late. So at midnite, we were scarfing down mango salsa black bean fish and green curry udon at Jujubi instead. It’s been a while since we’ve gone out for a night on town. We’re such old fogies now.
On Wednesday, I went to work late and witnessed the funeral procession for an East Palo Alto officer who was shot in the line of duty. They traveled from East Palo Alto to San Jose southbound on 101 in the carpool lane. Police and fire engines were parked on overpasses along the entire stretch of the freeway, to witness and salute the passing procession. But ‘civilian’ traffic was held up on the 101 in Woodside, and cars were blocked from entering at the on-ramps until the procession passed. Even for me traveling on the northbound direction, we all slowed down in amazement at the sight of so many police cars, a parade several miles long. I couldn’t help thinking if I were a terrorist, I would have chosen that time to strike, since so many police weren’t going to be on duty.!)
While his death was especially tragic, and I can understand that police have their own rituals for mourning, more complex and cathartic than for civilians, for theirs is truly a career of high risk; I don’t really think that holding up traffic like this the best way to pay their respects and honor the fallen. I’m not even sure that the honoree himself would have wanted to see this disruption imposed on the citizenry he was supposed protect and serve. I hope that they at least announced in advance that they were going to disrupt traffic like this, otherwise the police are to be considered self-serving!