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Friday, January 28, 2005

"Russell Shaw Felt The Sea's Irresistible Tug"

From time to time, I like to track the adventures of my namesakes. And, there are plenty of them out there.

I've just read an article on the Australian Broadcasting Company Web site in which several people who lived and worked in large Australian metro areas decided to move to the Australian coast. The interviews were conducted by journalist Irris Makler as part of a documentary called "Sea Change."

Makler introduced Russell Shaw as a businessman and banker whose love of the sea overcame the business practicalities of living and working in a big city - in his case, Sydney. Russell moved with his family out to Byron Bay 10 years ago.

Russell said that when he moved, he got into teaching, but also became a "property developer with a conscience."

Byron Bay sounds like one of those places where property developers are not looked upon favorably, Russell says he knows that. If he builds or even proposes an unpopular development, well, he might run into an opponent at the pub.

What really impressed me is that Russell says that even though Byron Bay does not abound with a huge amount of waiting-to-be-plucked business opportunities, it is a more quiet place- yet a place where you can make your mark if you are determined to do so.

All this touches a chord with me. Eight years ago, I moved from a noisy, sprawling metro area to be a bit closer to the ocean. I am not a developer (OK, maybe a bit of a Web developer) but when I moved out here to Portland I felt I could make my mark while acquiring the inner peace I was seeking.

As a result of that experience, I can relate to the fact that sometimes, natural surroundings can exert a pull on us that can defeat the workaholic-driven, business exigencies inside our heads.


Friday, January 07, 2005

A Note For Amber Frey

When I last checked, your book about the Scott Peterson trial was number 2 on the Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble best seller lists. Far higher than my books, I must admit.

Amber, you've made mistakes via your heart before. You were lonely, confused and looking for love. Then comes a smooth talker, and you were needy, and you fell into his arms. As exactly as I have done, with women I should have not.

But he held you with the same arms that tossed the mother of his child, as well as his nearly born child, into San Francisco Bay.

But you don't use your arms for killing. You're a massage therapist who uses your arms to heal. And, when the day's work is over, to love. I've known the therapeutic touch and amorous love of one sweet LMT, so I understand the art and heart of the healer.

So many months of self-doubt, of the public spotlight, of fighting the hurt and betrayal. So many months of missing the work you need to do to feed your daughter, and yourself.

So when I see that your book is selling great, and they are going to make a movie of it, I say, go for it. You deserve it. Although nothing can erase the hurt of being betrayed by someone who turned out to be the embodiment of cruelty, do well and live well with your new fortune.

Be healed, as you heal.

What The Universe Has Taught Me About The Implausibility of Long-Distance Relationships

Yesterday, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom and his wife announced they were divorcing. Seems as though her career made it necessary for her to spend most of her time in New York, and despite deep pockets and fast jets, the long-distance relationship didn't work. As one of their friends said to a wire service reporter, "what kind of a marriage is that?"

I have tried to kindle or rekindle several long-distance relationships. Ironically, three of the four that come most readily to mind were with women based in San Francisco.

In no case did they work. The first was back in 1988. I met her at a ferry dock, at an broadcast industry press event. We got on a tour boat, decided to sit together, ordered a bottle of cab. Less than two hours later, while sailing under the Golden Gate, we were in each others arms. That evening, we kissed Frenchly as she dropped me off at my hotel. When I got back to Atlanta, where I was living at the time, we stayed in touch, thinking "this could work," but we soon fell out of touch. She may be in Vegas now, but I am not sure.

Then, we move to 1992. That was shaping up to be a rough autumn for me. Two women I had been seeing found new boyfriends. Then, I got sent to the Bay Area to cover a trade show. After that was completed, I picked up a copy of a local paper with the express intent of finding something to do that Saturday evening in and at a place where I could revalidate my social chops and self-worth by meeting someone. I met a nice woman who has visited me twice in Portland. I remember back in 1998, when her cat was dying, and she kept calling me on my cell, quivering and wanting assurance. I cannot say if being in the same city would have helped. She's been living with her boyfriend for a couple years on, now.

Then there was another woman who I knew in the early 1990s and then recontacted while on a business trip to SF in 2001. We have stayed in touch, but the requisite elements have never really congealed. I find it ironic that four hours into my first date with the woman I now am with, and just a few seconds after we first held hands, a little boy walked past us, wearing a tee shirt bearing the name of the destination that SF woman had just gone to with her lover. A generic version of that moment's affect on me even was incorporated into the acknowledgements of my new book.

So yesterday, I flew into SF on the way from Vegas back home, and I see the headline about Gavin Newsom and his wife throwing up their hands at a long-distance relationship that didn't work. I figured, they are each worth millions, jet fare is no problem, but even they - people of perks and privilege - couldn't make it work. I feel bad for them, but as for me, I feel vindicated.

Vindicated not only for the lesson, but for the omen. I was thinking about the last long-distance relationship non-starter, and here, on this very day (my first in SF since she dropped da bomb on me), was a testament to the implausibility of LDRs from the Mayor - the very top civic symbol- of the very same city in which she lives.

Then, on the hop from SF back home to Portland, several omen-type things went down. The plane was late taking off due to baggage problems... the delay was kind of a reminder that getting back and forth from SF to Portland is a bigger hassle than I sometimes think. Then, as the onboard video feature showed scenes from a county where this woman's lover lives, the audio soundtrack on the channel I was listening to played a song by a singer whose last name is exactly the same as that of her lover. And the song that came on at that moment was a tune that although a hit four years after her birth, described her dating style, and her pursuer's bewilderment about why he even bothers - almost to a tee.

When I landed, though all was OK. For you see, just outside the baggage claim area, waiting patiently for me, was she who is love for me. The same one who I was with and first held my hand when that little boy walked by with that tee shirt, which bore the name of the place the woman from SF - the city I had just flown in from - was at with a man who was not me.

Listen to the universe. It teaches us. And, if we learn and then follow the lessons it teaches us, it can heal us, too,