Another coffee, west coast
"I told him we were going to have coffee and asked him if it was a good idea."
"What did he say?"
"He said yes it was a good idea, absolutely, but that you might write a tumblr about it."
I blushed, but in the bright sunshine there on the bay’s edge, it was impossible to see any change in the color of my cheeks.
"No no! He didn’t mean anything bad by it."
"Still, I’m mortified. Truly."
There is something mischievous about him. I noticed it the moment he bounced off the median toward me, as I waited in front of the Ferry Plaza. If there had been a light post — not the fascist one he described sitting to the right of, but an actual light post — he’d have swung off it, Singing In The Rain-style. The bounce was charming and unexpected, and if I’d been at all nervous he’d have disarmed me then and there.
If anyone was a little nervous, my money was on him. Not terribly nervous, but I could see a touch of it around the edge of our initial conversation. It dissipated quickly. The coffee helped, but sitting and talking about love helped more.
We sat in the sun, the Bay Bridge stretching out before us. His face lit up when he talked about her. His eyes were blue with touch of green in them, hidden behind glasses, but when he spoke about her they widened a little, became bluer and greener. We talked a long time about how it had come about, the situation. About feelings and reality and what could and couldn’t happen. I listened and asked. We talked on. He never once looked at his watch.
At first he seemed to want to talk more than to listen, but as the conversation continued we went back and forth. We talked a little about me and what I was going to do, about decisions I had to make. About plans I had. About interactions I ought to see a little differently. He was right. We drank a bottle of rosé from Washington state. Midway through the bottle I saw things about me I’d never understood, looking as I did through his blue eyes. Then I laughed as he paused, eyeing me up and down enjoying the way I ate a sweet potato french fry dipped in sauce.
He was shorter and more handsome than you might have imagined, with broader and stronger hands. He smelled wonderful.
There’s something so boringly obvious about Kara Swisher’s behind-the-scenes look at how Facebook came to own Instagram. To fans of Silicon Valley drama (amongst whom Swisher seems to count herself), it’s a breathless tale of luck, determination, and picking the decisive moment to pivot. From a more critical vantage, it’s the story of a rich white son of privilege selling his company to another rich white son of privilege.
Maddeningly1, Swisher insists on writing it straight as a rags to riches story, glossing over the life of complete safety and entitlement of Instagram’s most prominent co-founder, Kevin Systrom. Prep school, four years at Stanford, startup internships, requisite time at Google — this is a well worn path in the valley (or a parallel one to Wall St.) and there’s nary a hint of what made Systrom different or interesting. If you read the story hoping to glean some lesson for selling your own zero-revenue company for a cool billion, keep looking, unless that lesson is to pick your parents well.
Perhaps there’s some cause to celebrate the waspy young turks who forsake well-groomed, upper crust New England lives in finance or medicine or law to strike out to the already tamed frontier of the valley. After all, Systrom and Zuckerberg and Bill Gates all reached further than their fellow prep-school grads to amass unimaginable wealth from silicon and social. Look no further than a Winkelvoss or (Randi) Zuckerberg to see how it could have turned out. Ultimately, though, these amount to little more than brave tales of how the 1% become the 0.1%.
The background stories of today’s robber barons amassing users and mining likes are no different than any other generation’s: wealthy scions risking little and being rewarded for their cynicism and ability to network.
“Avocados are my favorite fruit. Every Sunday my grandfather used to bring me an avocado pear hidden at the bottom of his briefcase under six soiled shirts and the Sunday comics. He taught me how to eat avocados by melting grape jelly and French dressing together in a saucepan and filling the cup of the pear with the garnet sauce. I felt homesick for that sauce.”
- Sylvia Plath, the Bell Jar
You know that saying about how every generation thinks they invented sex? I’ve long thought that the same is true of avocados. You’re a rockstar if you bring an avocado-topped salad to a potluck. I’ve been on long car rides where avocados are the main topic of conversation. Folks shell out $1.25 to add guacamole to their burrito at Chipotle. That’s a lot of money, y’all. People suddenly think avocado toast is the hautest of cuisines. In college, I picked an avocado from a tree that drooped a few of its lovely green fruits over public land. I named him Allen and then I got too sad to eat the poor thing.
Leah Reich, a writer and blogger and photographer I have admired for some years, wrote a piece about the many varietals of avocados for the Atlantic. We eat mostly Hass avocados, and sometimes Florida ones. (I don’t care for the latter.) Ms. Reich says that not only am I missing out on costume parties and being happy and drinking whiskey and being a good writer—things I never do—but also that I am missing out on Pinkertons and Reeds, Zutanos and Bacons. The author suggests that these more rare types of avocado are far more amazing than the humble Hass.
What do I know of avocados, then? Of life? Is it all a lie, a dream, a farce?
photo by balotto
I know for sure one thing I did do: Write a piece about avocados for The Atlantic.
The rest of it? No idea.
Sam Cooke - Nothing Can Change This Love from Live at the Harlem Square Club 1963
So maybe sometimes I sneak into Margaret’s room while she’s napping and sing this to her. So what.
You’re the apple of my eye
You’re cherry pie
You’re cake and ice cream
You’re sugar and spice
And everything nice
You’re the girl of my dreams
Favorite Sam Cooke song of all time.
The ocean is great, right? It’s big and wavy and wonderful and smells delightfully briny. Let’s all go jump in it on New Year’s Day.
On January 1, at 12 noon, let’s all go jump in the Pacific Ocean.
Where and when
We can meet up at 11:45 on the beach, at the Judah intersection….
I can’t recommend this enough. I did it last year and it was one of the best things I did all year. If I weren’t going to be a big hippie and do a yoga workshop on New Year’s Day, I’d be there in a heartbeat.
Man, maybe I’ll do it anyway. There’s always time for yoga…
I just want to say that if you ever need a partner with which to try and take on the world, Leah (ohheygreat) should be your first pick.
Back at you, unstoppable force.
So many kids were displaced after Superstorm Sandy and still many other children who did not lose their houses still lost many of their possessions in flood waters.
Our goal is to bring a smile to the faces of these kids and their parents this holiday season by delivering to them toys, games, etc.
It’s pretty easy to donate. All you have to do is go to the Sacks For Sandy site and click on the link to the Amazon Wishlist, which has been built with kids of all ages in mind, even teenagers. You purchase something, it gets sent to Michele’s house and as the gifts come in she will have volunteers wrapping the presents (we are wrapping them color coded to age group so please send presents unwrapped).
We will then coordinate with various relief organizations to get the gifts to kids on Long Island, in the five boroughs and in New Jersey.
Our goal is 500 gifts. Together, I know we can do this.
Let’s give the gift of generosity to children who need something to smile about this holiday season.
All the info you need is at the site. If you have any questions at all, you can use the ask box there.
Please reblog, share on twitter, Facebook, etc. so we can meet our goal. And if you are local (Long Island) please contact Michele if you would like to help wrap and/or deliver presents.
Michele and Leah
“Condition Oakland, 1993: Understanding Twenty Years of My Life Through Stories and Discourse To Me” will be available on the Thought Catalog ebook imprint next year.
Stinx Removing: In 1993 but Wait It Might Have Been 1994 I Kissed A Gutterpunk on Telegraph Ave. and I Still Feel a Little Gross About It
A few years ago, when Tumblr was going through some of its earlier growing pains (as opposed to just its regular pains), I was a very dedicated Flickr user, relying on it both as a way to share my photography and as a home to a beloved community. There was a period when Tumblr users were taking…
Hello, I’m back.