When I lived in East Palo Alto, the best part was living on the Baylands, which is where the San Francisco Bay ends. It's so amazing and quiet -- the only noise is the small planes overhead from the Palo Alto airport, and I love that sound because it reminds me of my childhood. We lived near the San Carlos airport -- back when normal people had airplanes and boats for weekend fun -- not just rich people.. .When I first got married, we'd ride our mountain bikes all over the Baylands and it just made the world disappear.
So imagine if you will, the perfect reflecting stillness of the Baylands and characters speaking to me, telling me where they are going next. It's like, I'm totally there to listen so I can get home and get it all down on paper. The sun is out. The small planes are flying overhead and the cranes and egrets are perched along the path. It's the kind of zen writers dream of...and I ruined it!
When I lived in EPA, we didn't so much as have a grocery store. Now there's a Nordstrom Rack, a Target...and an IKEA. This is where I go horribly wrong. I think, "I wonder if I could get a cheap bookshelf and get some of those books out of my linen closet. That would leave more room for fluffy towels. That would allow me to look at my books, which makes me happy...
Yes, I know the founder of IKEA just died and no disrespect to the dead. The man made furniture affordable and who doesn't love opening a sock drawer and having to brace the rest of the dresser so it doesn't fall on your toes? I'm sure there are people out there. I'm just not one of them. But today, I'm by myself and I'm not a particularly anxious person, but when I notice the bookshelves are falling apart IN the store, I think, what was I thinking? I need to get out of here. But here's the thing, try getting out. In the words of Admiral Ackbar, "It's a trap!" (my boys would be so proud of this reference.)
You can't go back the way you came in because it's an escalator up. The only way out is through, but through where? There are people everywhere. You think you've just been through one room, but nope, it's another meant to confuse and demean you. The ONLY thing to get your bearings is the overwhelming smell of Swedish meatballs and the cafe. And I'm not going to lie, those meatballs smell incredible. For a moment I think, I may as well just sit here and eat and regroup. I have my Kindle. I can read. I have a pad of paper, I can write down the dialogue I created earlier. I can do this.
Then you realize, the closest you're getting to the meatballs is that smell. So you search again for the exit. WHERE is the exit? I finally went through the entire store and squeezed my way around the snaking line that went well into the warehouse. I had to take a giant elevator with other panic-stricken people wheeling large flats of pressed furniture until i saw daylight. Well, not really daylight, but some sun peaking into the underground parking garage. As I got into my car, it said I was going the wrong way. But this time, I didn't fall for that lie. I went in the out door and emerged triumphant from the parking garage.
Never again. My books can stay in the linen closet. Fluffy towels are overrated.