A Day in Phoenix

Start the morning with a 50-minute walk on a different path around the neighborhood and I’m partially distracted while on the phone. I’ll borrow one of Caroline’s shirts for the day and we leave to return the rental car. I check under the seats and find the cashew that I dropped and the coconut lip balm that I didn’t. We get Caroline to work and then go to King Coffee Roastery so Dad can get some writing done.

We get a comfy corner booth table against the back wall in the middle of the room. Mike is kind, and once he delivers our bagels, continues his chat with Dad. His caring doesn’t stop there as he discusses a job transition with another customer whose husband is looking to work for a smaller company. I love the small town feel in the middle of a sprawling metropolis.

There are pictures on the wall for sale from artist Denise Elfenbein who knows how to capture the glory of fruit and sunsets. Dad’s pulling his threads of our trip together, trying to jump back into that train of thought that was already a week ago. I tell him to try by starting from the beginning, but where is that when there’s no end as the lessons are ongoing and continue to reveal themselves in ways that go unnoticed by the human majority.

I used to be good at noticing patterns but haven’t been writing like I should. I’ve always done it in my free time as a way to learn more about my environment and experiences, fire the neurons in my brain, and bring together ideas to grow into something I could use that would unlock thoughtfulness for others when shared as my way of communicating and connecting the dots of past influences with future artists, dreamers, and travelers.

I meet Andrea, a 10th grade history teacher in her 21st year with 18 out of 35 repeat students and with the highest test scores last year then ever, that were taken in-person. Sitting here at 11:11 and reading a kind and descriptive review from The Phoenix Bean about this coffee shop, helping me to notice the giant bean-shaped lighting fixture above the bar. We leave after saying hi to Gary who is going to read his own book and be amazed at what he wrote. I feel the same way sometimes.

We return home to wash our smelly laundry and aren’t there long after hanging things to dry before it’s time for lunch at Old Town Taste. Dad orders Chongqing chicken for the Szechuan peppercorns and their effect with water or iced green tea — a carbonated feeling on the tongue. He orders fish in oil, spicy tofu, and garlic greens too. Back by the house, with leftovers, for Dad’s laptop and my book.

This time we’ll sip drinks from Starbucks and I try the star drink with passionfruit, freeze dried kiwi pieces, and coconut milk. I understand the comfort of home can make concentrating more difficult but so can women who feel the need to perform in public — feeling privileged while complaining on their phone and another leaving her trash after a fuss for someone else to toss.

We pick up Caroline after work and say hi to one of her bosses who think Dad and I look a lot alike. Two hours at the house so she can unwind before dinner at Spinato’s. We talk with Susanna about her trip to Sturgis, staying in Dana Point, and taking backroads on a motorcycle. Caroline and I will walk after dinner and talk about hiking, music, and travel. I’ll call Caleb back and walk some more before returning to keyboard lessons with Caroline. I do enjoy being in a constant state of learning and awe.

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