Orme di Antiorario

My daylight saving

Back to normal programming now.

August 9. When the Southwest begins, the desert does too. Enough with the mind-numbing monotony of Virginia, Tennessee, Mississippi and Louisiana freeways and their endless rows of trees on both sides: you could fall asleep in Roanoke and wake up right before Lake Pontchartrain and believe you just dozed off for a few seconds. As much fun as it may be to hit stray armadillos or make fun at waitresses’ names during rest stops in Nothingness, MS, it’s not until your sight can lose itself into the horizon that your brain can finally feel at home. Or maybe it’s just mine that does.

My infinite loop

Let’s forget about the road trip for a second and fast forward to the evening of August 14. I just want to say that avocados are tasty and make good things happen even just as one buys them.

As I was driving to Palo Alto, Marie called to ask me to buy avocados, so I stopped at Mollie Stone’s on California Avenue (an old playground of mine, or at least where my English was born). I gotta say it took me a while: who’d have thought that even in California avocados would get to the shelf marble-tough?

When I got to the check-out counter, I had a vision: black turtleneck, jeans, New Balance shoes. Add that to the fact that I was in Palo Alto, and you get only one possible solution: Steve Jobs. A thinner, concentrated version of my favorite tech guru.

The iPhone in my pocket and the MacBook Air in my backpack started screaming, “Daddy!” (to him) and, “Don’t you dare not talk to him” (to me), so I went to stand in line behind him and the person he was with.

My lone star

On our third day of Texas we are still more than two hundred miles from its western border. Arriving in Fort Stockton last night we realized that 1) despite this being the first sizable city on Interstate 10 after San Antonio, it was way too late to get anything sensible to eat, and 2) the humid climates of the South are history, and we’d finally entered the Southwest.

The warm and breezy night would have been perfectly spent around the swimming pool of our motel, if it hadn’t been closed for hours. And also considering that today another long day of driving awaits us, so that we can be in Tucson at a decent hour.

My rest stop

For one whole day the car stayed in a parking lot. The city we chose for the rest stop is New Orleans, not even at the physical half of the trip. It’s an absurd city that I thought I hated, but at least learned to appreciate when I was here last April. This time, here she is again in the climate, which I very well remembered, of the first week of August. The city was announced by an electrical storm over Lake Pontchartrain one hour before our arrival. No rain (not that I could see), only lightning embedded in giant clouds.

My experience of New Orleans is still limited to the French Quarter, which doesn’t seem to have changed since the students’ spring break. It also seems that the students have never left, captivated by the hidden forces of the city.

My musical cities

I might have been expecting more from the musical cities. Having a certain history doesn’t necessarily mean that a place can live up to it. Neither Nashville nor Memphis has left me with an intrinsically bad impression, but in both cases I couldn’t help but think that they looked as if someone had scattered buildings on a previously empty space, without any particular attention.

My thousand miles

I’m in the lobby of the Thrifty Inn near the Nashville Airport. Last night we reached our first 1000 miles, crossed our first time zone and got our first (and possibly last) speeding ticket.

Alright, these things happen. I maintain they happen more easily if you have a New York license plate. The only times I’ve ever been pulled over by the police (well, not I specifically, as I was never at the wheel, considering the first two times I was 13) I had a New York license plate.

My road trip

After three days in New York, I’m having breakfast at Starbucks in Washington Heights, getting the final details ready for the road trip. In slightly more than three hours I’ll meet Matteo at the Newark Airport, where, we hope, the car we rented will be waiting for us.

It seems that New York will give me a clear enough sky this morning, as opposed to yesterday afternoon’s crazy rains. Don’t get me wrong: I loved it. The temperature was agreeable, and having an umbrella (which, in my case, started falling apart, as do all the umbrellas I bring to New York) is enough to keep the experience under control.

Plus, it only takes a quick walk into the Subway system to completely dry off – except for some residual sweat, which is due to the system’s tropical climate. (And I thought hell was supposed to be a dry place.)

Our first leg will take us to Washington, D.C., which is actually a last-minute addition. Not too far, just enough to warm us up.

That time of year

I don’t think I had realized what jasmines were before the summer of 1989, when their violent scent made me twitch my nose every time I passed by (or entered, which was also very frequent) the McDonald’s restaurant on El Camino Real in Palo Alto. I found it nauseating, and one of the reasons was probably that on our first afternoon we had decided to walk all the way there from Barron Park – a walk that took our European legs forever to accomplish, and probably also left us quite scorched by an unusual sun. That walk became familiar very soon, and such familiarity made it feel shorter and shorter every time we took it.

My spring break

Three more days and I will be at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol waiting for a flight to New York. (Newark, to be more precise, but who really goes to Newark anyway?)

A week in New York was supposed to be just a relaxing gateway to the PCA/ACA conference in New Orleans, but, considering the way my work has been going lately, I think it will be slightly less relaxing than expected. By now I’m used to roaming the city to find spots where work can be done – if not necessarily quiet, they should at least provide a comfortable, long-lasting place to sit and wi-fi connection. I used to be fond of Doma, but I think I was more into their rugged wooden floors and the good music than anything else. Also, their lack of wi-fi is a deal breaker when I have work to do.