A road of solitude is a road many have traveled before you – by Route 53
This morning’s commute, the day after Christmas on a Friday was as quiet and uneventful as one could imagine. I got up and out of the house even before the garbage man could come by and pick up our garbage can full of Christmas Recyclables. It is beautiful clear mornings such as this which make grand cities such as San Francisco seem so small. I’ve had mornings like this in Paris, New York and Chicago as well where you feel like the city belongs only to you.
Those already escaping to the mountains for skiing had already thrown their trees to the curb (there goes the holiday spirit). I took a different route to work. I drove straight through downtown and San Francisco’s Union Square where my dad once had his dental office. The stores were dark except for people putting up sale signs and hoping that post Christmas traffic would help bolster a lackluster retail season.
My office across from San Francisco’s Moscone Convention Center has a bit of a circular story for me. My office looks out at both the W Hotel (where people sometimes don’t close their blinds and I often get an early morning peep show) and more importantly the Convention Center. San Francisco’s Convention Center sits on a bit of land with a lot of history for me. It is where my dad would park his car when I was younger so as not to have to pay for parking. It used to be an area of burnt out buildings and homeless bonfires. Even more so in the 30s-60s it was where my family first got it’s real start in America.
My grandfather sold meat scraps for an old Italian (some say he was Greek) immigrant who eventually gave the business to the hard working “chinaman”. It was this business which changed the life of my family. Eventually my grandfather would be approached by the city’s attorney in charge of the redevelopment agency, Joe Alioto, to sell the building and land to San Francisco. My grandfather, not wanting to easily give up the business that fed his family, struck a hard bargain that eventually enabled my grandfather to be one of the first Asians to move into Menlo Park, an area that now has many Asians. Joe Alioto would later go on to become a famous mayor for San Francisco and his grandson, the original Joe Alioto, Jr. would be a class mate of mines in grammar school.
So today I look over this land from my office. A rich property that my grandfather sold to get our family a head start in San Francisco. I park my car in a garage that sits about 20 yards from where my dad would park the beat up VW that he drove for 25 years. Life has many ironies. Sometimes we don’t even know they are there even though we see them.
Maybe I’m not a workaholic. Showing up at work this morning was probably a way for me to be with two generations of men that I owe much to. Maybe it’s a way for me to be close to them. Wow, really maybe it is a comfort zone for me. It’s interesting how these things just never come to realization until you put them to words.
I’m not sure how this entry ends. I guess I never really think about what I’m going to write about, but maybe this entry is my road less traveled. I’m sure others have their road of solitude as well. Many are in parallel and other paths I may cross. 2008 may be coming to an end, but at least I’ve found my path.
PS – I just watched this movie called “PS-I Love You”. Inspirational? Yes. hell yes.. If you ever love someone or feel passionate about something, follow your dream and follow theirs. The video below is the the last song from the movie. It just seemed to fit my mood today.