Tonight I wrote at Starbucks until closing on a piece I am writing for work. I've been struggling to find a framework to hold up the story--one that will include all of the characters I've interviewed; the nuclear radiologist who lives on the hill, the certified embalmer who taught me what "pot-fixing" a body is, and also the Master of Peruvian Surgery, an honor that has only been given to three surgeons in the history of the country. It just hasn't been coming together. Until tonight. My friend Tommy once told me that there is a documented headache that people get before they make a discovery or have a breakthrough. I think he meant people like Thomas Edison or Einstein, but I have gone ahead and assumed the theory could apply to me, and so now every time I wanna rip my hair out because I'm not getting anywhere, I just think, "Discovery=Around the Corner." Tonight, the breakthrough came right after a man off the street, who was talking to himself and trying to talk to me, swung an arm at a man passing him in Starbucks. He missed, and there wasn't much punch to his swing anyway, but it sure did give me a good jolt and render me fully alive in the world! After that, and probably completely unrelated to it, my piece came together. We'll see how it turns out. Sometimes I think I've got something and when I wake up, I read it and think, "This will never do!"
On my drive home, I was approaching the I405 which I needed to pass under in order to get to the apartment. As I got closer I could have sworn that the arrow in my lane said, THIS LANE EMILY. For a second it just felt good to be on the right path. Then, as I got closer, I realized it said, THIS LANE ONLY which felt a little less providential.
After parking my car, I made my way through the courtyard of the apartment complex I'm staying at. As I walked, I started thinking about how crazy I can be sometimes. And by that I mean kind of beating myself up for how stressed I get about stuff and the way I am driven by this strange blend of perfectionism and freedom, rootlessness and yet strong, loyal ties--it all makes me a little unpredictable at times. I just kept thinking about how this one boy told me I was "OUT. OF. CONTROL!" and how I didn't feel defensive about it so much as a little twanged by embarrassment, knowing it was a little true.
But right then, in the middle of that thought, after pushing the button for the elevator, this other thought came out of nowhere! It was this: You know what? I am going to make a damn good wife someday! (I used one of my three swear words--sorry grandma!) I mean, I'm completely aware that there are parts of me that will not make an ideal person to live with. I'm forgetful. I also get stressed. I also am not a very good cook. I also never wear socks, which some people hate. But despite all of those things, I still think I'm going to be a good wife--whatever that will end up meaning to me. I think I am going to be a good teammate because I will want to be. And that was the other thing Susan Orlean said in her talk the other day; that desire is the number one requirement for pulling something off. You've got to have some heart invested in it.
Well, that kind of took it out of me and now I'm pretty tired. I have a few more days here in LA before I head back to Loma Linda for a total of 2 hours before flying to Washington, or as one Californian said today, before I "head upstate". My dad sent me a text tonight in his usual no-punctuation form. It said "3 in snow trees flocked see you soon love Dad" which sounded like both a dream and a reality I know so well.