I’m in Seattle for another twelve hours — back in town briefly for a friend’s bachelor/bachelorette party — before heading back to San Francisco.
It is comfortable and warm here. Spending a brief day in Capitol Hill reminds me of all the things I miss when I’m away: the coffee-shop whose mid-day rhythm I can feel in my bones, the perfect spots in Cal Anderson where you can sit in the sun and the wind, the snugness of a city whose familiarity has worn grooves into your feet.
(My brain is still scattered, and so this newsletter will be a little scattered too!)
If you’ll excuse an allusion I should have outgrown by now: I feel a little like Matilda at the end of the book, no longer telekinetic but happier for it.
San Francisco has been exciting and exhausting in equal measures; today is a brief and glorious respite from the pastel chaos of meetings and lectures and coffee-walks with terrific and earnest coworkers. San Francisco is many things but more than anything else it feels overflowing with people who care very much about things.
I find myself tired and grinning at the end of every day, which has a certain unfadeable novelty to it. And, of course, I find my to-do list on an arc of monotonic growth; there is so much to be done, and so little time with which to do it. But all of these things are extemporal: papers to track down, old presentations to watch, quick ideas for Buttondown. The little alleyways of life, you know?
I’ve written a few times about how I always marvel at the amount of reading I get done on flights. My flight Friday was like that, too: it was a mere ninety minutes or so, ascension and steadiness and descension, but I managed to get through two hundred pages of Rachel Cusk’s Transit before being warmly reminded to put my tray table in the locked and upright position.
(Transit is one of those books, by the way, that I see so many flaws in — the monotone voice, the flimsy narrative — and yet I devour it. There needs to be a term like that: for prose that sticks to you despite yourself.)
I think my flight tomorrow will be like that, spent burrowed in a book.
And I think tomorrow, just like every flight, I’ll spend a few minutes before deplaning thinking I should spend more time like this, all my devices suspended in airplane mode, isolated from everything except a book and a soundtrack, untethered by push notifications.
I’m going to go on a run to the gym after sending this. Then I’ll probably pick up some food, put on some Coltrane, and finish Transit. Somewhere in that plan of attack I’ll sneak some work on Buttondown (I’m not perfect, especially at leisure), but I think I’ll try out airplane mode — at least for an hour or two.
I hope the next time you travel, the person in front of you doesn’t recline their seat.