A cosmic connection exits between San Francisco and scooter damage. In the first and only year of owning my second new scooter, it was knocked over 3 times before getting totaled in an accident (2 of the incidents occurred in the same alley beside a movie theater). No fall resulted in much damage, but it is still shocking to see an expensive piece of property defy vertical expectations. The violation is that of a fallen pet or if you went outside to find your car lying on its broadside.
After moving to Portland, I thought I’d give new scooter ownership another shot. All went well until a few days ago until I heard I was going back to the Bay Area for a meeting. Over the night my scooter was knocked over. It was no accident, as I had parked it on the sidewalk next to my apartment specifically to avoid a car backing into it. The damage again was only cosmetic, and minor at that. It’s just unfortunate that it had to minor damage to an otherwise perfectly new scooter.
A moment like this is always a little bit of a reality check. One of the few trappings of my life of money and ease is that I can afford a Shiny New Overpriced Thing (SNOT). And I attribute value to the shiny and new qualities of the SNOT. But these qualities are fleeting and unimportant in the scheme of things, and life is quick to remind me of that. Without getting overly philosophical, the initial purchase of SNOT is a challenge to the natural order of things. Even knowing that nothing lasts forever, the purchase of something at its newest possible state is at least gambling on it seeming new longer. But I think that the SNOTiest of items are burdens in disguise, because if you don’t care about maintaining their new perfection you wouldn’t buy them in the first place. And so if you care, it means that some part of your emotional life is spent worry about things staying new. And “new” as a topic of worry should be pretty minor.
I haven’t forgotten about San Francisco, and am confident that I will live there again. For all of Portland’s benefits, a simple vista down a steep street in fag city can trump them all. Why would I live next to a gulch when I could live at the Grand Canyon? Why would I buy a Geo Metro when I could drive a Geo Prism [ed. note: the Prism is much roomier and better for not many more clams]? Why would I sup on an all-beef patty when I could slice and smack my way through a tender truffle-glazed steak. Why would I live in Portland when I could live in San Francisco? Why can’t I stop asking rhetorical questions?
The current trip in numbers: 4 people from a company of 300+ to meet with 4 people from a company of 150+ to collaborate on projects for a company of 6000+ on total projects costing millions+ for a consumer group of even greater millions. The size of the numbers involved helps explain why it was worth it for me to fly down to San Francisco solely for a three hour meeting. The numbers become abstract. And by relation, an otherwise huge number can by described as small.
I am small.