Thursday, after the workshop, Building a Résumé, I got on the highway heading east. I stopped at 7:15pm to fill the car and empty myself. I thought the one-lane due to roadwork on Hwy 8 would slow me down, but I still arrived at my dad’s house in Phoenix three hours later like clockwork. I said hi to the wife and she was off to bed for beauty sleep before a busy weekend. Dad and I would stay up till 11:30pm catching up on our last two months apart, which is easier to cope with than two years.
I was up another hour before catching six hours of shuteye. Caroline was probably at the halfway point of Camelback Mountain, summit at 2,700 feet, by the time Dad and I settled into a booth for Friday breakfast at US Egg, consuming equal parts coffee and water. We got to the office at 8:15am and I finally got the chance to meet this Kirk character that I’ve heard, and seen, so much about. Anyone who can make my dad laugh greater than or equal to my capabilities is a great friend of mine.
I made my way around the office having conversations with Rainy, last of the original employees; Ariana, celebrating her birthday with a twerking robot; Steve, busy making animated eyeballs; a new Jessica with black roses on her desk; and Jeff, another man who has known my dad for over 15 years. Friendships of this length are an important part of our health as we continue our longer living journeys, and they are great for networking.
I appreciate all the hours of learning, chatting, and frustration these coworkers have gone through to make my dad’s dream a reality. I know some people haven’t made the distance due to their personal decisions or the company’s goals, but each one has played a vital role in shaping the future of virtual reality at Timefire VR. Dad flutters about the desks with ownership authority doing chiefly tasks while maintaining a great sense of camaraderie.
The vibe is productive and the seats still filling when Dad, Jeff, and I go for a nitro brew coffee break at Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf. I enjoy part of my frothy beverage (almond coconut milk added) in a glass with my ass in a cushiony chair and my mouth set to rapid fire as I let Jeff know about my time overseas. Dad keeps an eye on the time, we get our cups to go, and I’m on my way to the house to grab food and homework.
The reason I drove out here wasn’t just to deliver frankincense from Oman and coffee cups from Bahrain to Caroline or to return my dad’s gate key and black apron, but to work the weekend at Kwality Ice Cream. I walked in at 11:50am and she’d already set up for the day. She gifted Caroline and me some clothes from her last trip in India and was on her way. I mopped, bumped my head on a shelf, and spent the day between serving customers a larger variety of flavors and a pile of assignments via book and online.
I did homework till midnight and passed out. Kirk joined us for Saturday breakfast and the waitress remembered my order from two months ago and the owner came by with couples’ jokes to give us a giggle. Dad unlocked the office for Kirk so he could get to work while we dropped Caroline off to spend the day with Christine. Dad took me to work and I got to keep my parking spot for another day. A family with five kids came in and amongst the confusion I got left with a partially filled cone. I topped it off and that was lunch.
Back to the books until a mom came in with her son. He tried a sample, walked over to the trashcan, and I heard something hit the floor. I glanced over and called him out for spitting his mint into pieces. His mom thanked me and told him to pick it up. I’d say the rest of my night was uneventful, but I emailed the wrong professor about text size in a framework for discussion and then had to leave a voicemail for the right class.
Caleb spent his Saturday sending me pictures of Sparky working in the backyard and Piggy supervising with a scared look on her face. I’m glad they have something to do in my absence while I eat more ice cream. Dad calls to remind me he’s on his way to pick me up and I pack my things quickly and am setting the alarm when he arrives. We go for a Greek pizza with olive oil for dinner and back at the house I’m shushed for a listen into Kirk’s ability to freestyle. It’s definitely a catchy tune.
Sunday is — sleep till 7am, do cardio workout, take a shower, and eat a healthy breakfast snack. Next — “accidentally” get lost and find The Original Rainbow Donuts and grab six to go. I stop at Aroma Euro Market while on the phone with Caleb, so I take a quick glance at their blueberry juice and chocolate choices before heading to Lookout Mountain for some nimble footwork to the summit before sitting indoors for the next nine hours.
I hear something move and spot a Sonoran Chuckwalla hidden from the sun between the shade in the rocks. I complete my climb and pass multiple dogs on my descent and watch as the spit flies from their tongues in droplets. It’s probably high 80s during my hike and I’m a bit sweaty myself. I change into my uniform shirt and start selling ice cream. The morning is busy with customers prepping for today’s celebration of good over evil known as Diwali, the festival of lights. They will burn candles and fireworks and decorate their homes with rangoli, colorful patterns made of rice and powder.
The boss stops by and lets me light the candle, so the lighter will stop burning her finger. I will return to my pink box of donuts to mark the passing hours of the day until 9 o’clock comes and I can leave ten minutes after my last group of customers. I’ll narrow down my photos for another post before laying down.
Monday morning, and I’m woken by a dream. I battle to remember the details while at the same time forget them and go back to sleep. I can hear my dad and think I hear Caroline moving around, but don’t see her. I think I might be dreaming again, but I’m up and we’re going for breakfast soon. I grab my finished homework, shirts covered in ice cream, and put on my sweaty shoes. I will follow them to US Egg in my car, so that Caroline can take their car and I will take my dad to work.
He walks in the office and my professor returns my call from Saturday night. The conversation is cordial and I agree to meet her a bit early before my next class with her for review. I stop twice for coffee release breaks and then again at a halfway point to refuel the car. I’m able to maneuver around a few accidents, skip Dateland again, and… get to class on time.