Monday, December 04, 2006

Lost in transportation (and Drainage)

Last night, I flew home from Vegas. (AU Recap and photos forthcoming)

On the plane, I watched a movie that I have been carrying around in my bag for months. It's a movie that I have wanted to see for awhile, but I didn't really know anything about it. The movie was Lost in Translation.

I had a vague idea that it was set in Japan, and I was pretty sure Bill Murray was in it. I figured that since I like edamame, sushi and Hello Kitty that I would be interested in seeing the film.

The film delivered far more than expected. Set entirely in Japan (mostly Tokyo with a little Kyoto) it gave a fascinating picture of a culture so different from ours.

The story was one of crossing paths and timing. The two characters lock eyes across a smoky bar (cliche, perhaps) and they have one of those lightning bolts that you get when you first cross paths with someone of potential consequence.

They spend time together and it becomes clear that as much as they may subconsciously want to go further, any relationship beyond the platonic would cheapen the little time they have.

We are left with the unspoken notion that "If things were different, thing would be different".

And during this beautiful story of unrequited love, I was endlessly enthralled by the Japanese public rail system, roundabounds, bridges and highway signs.

We have all had those moments, though, those crossed path timing moments.

For me, one of those moments was about a year ago in downtown Newark, DE. Not quite as glamorous as Tokyo.

I don't remember if I was picking up the training laptops or dropping them off, but either way it was 2 hours up to Newark and 2 hours back down to my house after teaching all day on minimal sleep.

It was about 10PM when I was heading back home, so I go into town to get some coffee.

Downtown Newark is a college town with a quaint main street and the requisite Starbucks.

I go into Starbucks for two Venti Cafe Mochas and I notice that the barista is a tall, goodlooking fellow with a twinkle in his eye.

He takes interest in my mocha and asks sweetly "Are these both for you? Long night ahead?" and when I nod, he winks and puts one in a double cup with extra insulation so that it stays warm.

He asks me what I do for a living and why I am out so late and look so weary. He wasn't just looking for a tip, he genuinely cared, something that is so rare even at your most highly rated college town Starbucks. But more than that.... he was someone I could have gotten to know. I was crossing his path.

I hated to leave him and that cozy embrace of dark roast Colombian air, but as I stepped out into the fog in wool coat and listened to my tall boots hit the sidewalk, I wondered if he was watching me walk away. And I wondered if he wondered, too.

Then I rested my coffee on the trunk of my car and wondered if he was still watching me as I proceeded to spill the entire contents of the double cupped mocha onto my wool coat, my boots, my trunk and the road.

I didn't think to be embarrassed, however, since the torrent of steaming brew gave me a chance to remark how efficiently the straight faced curb and gutter delivered the liquid into a DelDOT Type B catchbasin.


Anonymous said...

Ah, unrequited love... story of my life. There was Libby in Grade 3. And then there were others, all unrequited. And now there's Civil 3D: I try to love it, it generally don't love me...

Anonymous said...


Laughing, typing, and dripping beer from my nose.

That's good.
Now we will see if I can type derpqgnr twice without error.