Only Amanda Gorman Can Save Us Now

Just coming off the road. A good week. Productive. I feel valued. I’m a little ashamed to admit that I still feel validated for doing my job well. For organizing people into groups and making sure the right ones talk to one another and then create meaningful outputs that then can be advanced to some purpose that in one way or another relates to enhanced economic activity. 

Serving the man. But I was raised to contribute. To take care of myself. And so I take some pride in it still. I’m a cheap date in the game of life.

Sitting at the JFK Crown Room as I write. At the bar of course. Once I hit the airport at BOS, there are free drinks aplenty until I get home. Crown Room > 1st class > Crown Room > 1st Class > land at CMH. A little tipsy perhaps.

No serious person loves constant business travel. Including me. But in moderation it is tolerable and even enjoyable for the nomad who gets a little restless pinned to the ground. Next two months will be a little heavy on travel as we get our shoulders to the wheel to get things moving. But once we have some inertia we will fall into a more moderate pattern. 

In addition to 3 or 4 Boston trips in the next 6 weeks, Shannon and I will be in San Antonio on the 3rd of Feb to research gelato business. Brittany and I will most likely head to Amsterdam the first week of March. So not much time sitting around the house in coming days.

While I am basically happy with my work, we never really know what’s on the other side. We hear talk of people who walk away from it all and live free, or relatively free, of financial constraints. And we are led to believe they are happier than we are. No more commutes, no more sitting for hours in front of a computer. No more inane conversations with dummies. Or at least they are not required to entertain fools to the same degree as the typical office geek. 

But I’ve dipped my toe in those waters. I’ve lived in the desert with limited resources. Limited contact with others. Limited internet or outside communication. Lived among people with whom I have little in common and who don’t easily speak my language. I mostly enjoyed my experience. But there were hardships as well. It’s exactly true in my humble opinion that there is no perfect nirvana as we move through this journey. We all think there is something better out there. Some way of living that is less stressful and more gratifying.

The Buddhists and Taoists would have us believe the more correct path is to find acceptance in our circumstances. That feels right as rain to me.

I like a little back and forth. Some professional experiences and some off-the-grid experiences. Each provides context for the other. 

I was killing time at dinner the other night and re-read some Thoreau quotes.

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms…”

HDT

Superb words written when lives were most likely harder and more brutal for most, but also simpler in some ways.

But always the conversation of are we living to work or working to live.

Right now I have a good scotch in a perfectly cute little tumbler and sweet Erma Franklin streaming into my ears. So no need to solve this one right now.

Thich Nhat Hanh has died. His books provided me some comfort and guidance over the years. He was one spiritual dude. He will be missed.

Meatloaf also died. An odd man, The Loaf. Apparently he was anti-vaxx and anti-mask. And he died of COVID. I was never a huge fan so not particularly bothered.

It has been a year since Amanda Gorman blew us all away when she recited her amazing poem at Biden’s inauguration. Turns out that might well be the high point of this administration.

She’s amazing. Talented, beautiful in all ways. Spiritual.

A good article about here in the NYTimes, is here, and worth re-reading.

We are now firmly embedded into the new year. Inertia pulls us along. I was up at 4:15 this morning to get prepped for my meetings and packed. We finished our last meeting at Noon and then busted out for the airport. 

When I left on Monday morning, in the middle of a cute little Ohio sized snowstorm, the roads were eerily empty at 5:00am. I could not rouse an Uber driver so drove myself. Like a peasant.  But in a car with heated seats and steering wheel.

Brittany and I pulled a long day of drinking last Sunday–hitting 4 different brewpubs to get our Ale Trail game back on track. Tough duty. And of course followed by a few hours on the couch napping in front of the tv. Tomorrow we will do it again. But likely only one or two brewpubs. We must meet Jane the dirty girl coffee roaster tomorrow morning to see her operation and talk coffee business. She seems super cool and her coffee roasting style suits me. Not extreme. Not too rich or too light. Goldilocks. 

Last night after dinner, I stopped in at the cigar bar I go to near my hotel. I was reading the paper and listening to jukebox music, but also casually eavesdropping on the other bar conversation. One guy was adamant that he should be allowed to smoke weed in a place that allowed cigars, pipes, cigarettes, and hookah. His rationale – everything legal to smoke here kills, but weed enhances. Not legal but otherwise a reasonable argument. 

The girl sitting next to me was full on working her job as online tech support while knocking back Bud Lights and smoking a small cigar.  I had not really ever considered that as viable, but she seemed to be making it work, so to speak. 

We had dinner at a terrific old-school neighborhood Italian place. I had salmon in a vodka cream sauce. Prachi had mushroom ravioli and Ron had bolognese. All terrific. Along with wine, good conversation, and afterwards, espresso. Just a lovely neighborhood place that looked and felt like it could have been in Naples. And the food was excellent. 

After dinner I stopped at the hotel bar for a nightcap. Feels like old times. Back on the road. Hotel life. Eating out too much, but also a little adventure that goes with travel. Positives and negatives. Pros and cons. Good and bad. Ying and Yang. 

I am building a dream team here. I think this is going to be a satisfying project. Just feels to be shaping up that way. And that makes life so much easier. Two years on the same gig for me is really pushing boundaries of my attention span. But with the right team it is manageable. 

Sunday now. Just getting ready to drive to Lewisburg. I need to meet the power company in the morning, and also Kenny to go over some plans. Then down to Reece’s at The Narrows Virginia to talk them about ordering doors and flooring and kitchen cabinets. Black Dog Ridge will be beautiful when it’s finished, but much remains to be done. Money to be spent. Boards to be shaped and fastened into place. Power lines to run.

Yesterday Brittany and I motored down south to meet Jane and Cara from Dirty Girl Coffee. We checked out their roaster operation and talked through a bit of details about working together. Then we met Sylvia and Ron for a few drinks at Strong and finally back to make dinner for Ryan for his birthday.

I’ve been resurrecting my thoughts of undertaking the big Appalachian Trail hike in spring of 2024. That is when my current project will end. Assuming I can manage to save a few nickels, and not have too many more motorcycle crashes or hospital visits and actually get my body back into some sort of fitness, then it could happen. I must get myself into a place physically, emotionally, & spiritually where I can detach.

6 months of hiking 15 – 20 miles every day, give or take. Rain, snow, heat, bugs, cold, hot, fording streams, climbing mountains, evading bears and bobcats, loneliness (rarely a factor for me), lack of alcohol (always a factor for me), and simply the tedium of being disconnected. Learning to live with only the essentials. Getting closer to the land once again.

So, a goal. One that age suggests I should take on sooner rather than later.  Still, the AT is not really fully remote. Towns and cities are rarely more than a few hours hike away. And trail angels are always around to give a hitch or buy a beer or pizza.

My writing is a bit unfocused here. I’m aware. A lot of activity at the moment and so not so much time to write or think. But I’m a man of movement so the price is less time at home in front of the computer. Some random pics here. Just as they have come in.

Chasing life….Doing the Thoreau thing. 

No other news of note.

Humbly submitted.

2 thoughts on “Only Amanda Gorman Can Save Us Now

  1. Pleasantly surprised to read that you know Ron and Sylvia! Such a small world! ☺️

    Like

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