Three women that have wrought
What joy is in my days"
- W.B. Yeats
Sara landed in Quito three nights ago. All four of us, my three adult sisters and I, seemingly following some genetically hard-wired agitation timer, have simultaneously thrown ourselves into massive transition. I closed out my life in the Bay Area and am boogeying to Africa (for no better reason than that I can). Danielle fled the classic vortex of one's college town (in her case, Greesboro NC) to repatriate back to Atlanta. After four years in New York, and Vienna, Erin undertook the entirely bold experiment of joining Sara in Austin. (She flew out of LaGuardia the day before I flew out of SFO.)
And now, impressively, Sara is faciley stealing my thunder by beating me out of the country and into the bush: She's spending 4 weeks intensively studying Spanish in Ecuador, then a few more weeks traipsing around there and Peru (possibly to include that first-rung trophy destination, Machu Pichu). ¿Que malo, no?
Another odd parallel: When I last attempted to live in Atlanta (at very nearly Danielle's current age), Sara was just getting back from a year in London and Dublin; we crossed each other for about 6 or 8 weeks. During that time we started hanging out, for the first time as adults and that's when we first became friends. Currently, Danielle and I are here together, for a few star-crossed weeks, with nothing to do but kick it old school.
Last week, we made a date for the Magritte show at the High Museum. I'm a major Magritte fiend, ever since a woman with the suitably remarkable name of Mona Helen kindly took to me to a spectacular Magritte show at SFMOMA. In this case, the "headline exhibition" consisted of a total of five (minor) works, which I'd never seen a headline deal quite that back-page. And, the less said about the rest of the High's collection and curation the better. (Moreover, this is not only the best Atlanta has to offer in a fine arts museum; it's all it has to offer.) Let's talk about the building instead: great building, and great interior. We rambled from there to dinner at a vegan soul food joint. (Who could pass that up?)
Saturday, I attended D's Atlanta Coming Out party, at her stylish Druid Hills digs (getting to spectate her in her social context); Tuesday, we took Emma for a day at the Botanical Gardens; finally, yesterday, I dropped by just for the goshdarned heck of it. She was home, and game, and so we spent the day happily zipping around northern Atlanta listening to WMAX, dropping off job applications for her, and shopping for safari fashions for me. Stellar day. Stellar day.
Immediately prior to all this bopping, I fulfilled my major obligation (and honor) of this trip segment, by performing best man duties at the wedding of my awesome best friend, down on Sea Island, off the Georgia Coast and from which I keep two privileged moments: Alex and I sitting in the hot tub in our boxer shorts after a night of carousing, talking very seriously and heart to heart, which we don't always do all that often, even after 20 years (maybe especially after 20 years). And the next morning: I donned the uniform (tux, that is) and headed over to drag him out of bed and to the altar. Amazingly, he was awake and in the shower when I arrived. I doffed my jacket, reclined on the bed, and kicked my feet up while he made himself presentable, and fiddled with studs and cufflinks. And there the two of us were, talking again maybe not quite as gravely as the night before just the two of us. And I knew no one else got to hang out there with him in that room, because I was best man, and it was my gig. (Jennifer was off with her bridesmaids, doing whatever it is bridesmaids do with hair and flowers and whatnot.) And it was all just perfect and perfectly traditional. And then I put him in the car and got him to the chapel on time. (And we even got, something like the 4th picture in existence of the two of us).
And when I got back from that, I knew I was in the pipe for Africa. Two weeks, mark, until departure. Now, I've taken my first anti-malarial tablet, and my last piece of gear has come in: my monopod, telltale of a budding camera geek and which, collapsed, doubles nicely as a club. (That hippo will rue the day he tries to trample me. Hah!) Though, I'm way, way behind on my Swahili.
PSA: The world were such sweethearts to us after September 11, I've felt a bit crap about my delay and difficulty extending my personal heart out to our mates down in Oz, after the Bali bombing. As you've probably read, this was Australia's September 11 in a country of 20 million, they lost a nearly proportionate number of people. But I admit it seemed so far away. If you'd like to bring it closer to you, or send your heart closer to them, I commend you to the Sydney Morning Herald's coverage of the tragedy and its aftermath.