Sunday finds me again sitting at a spot by a power strip in the Coffee Bean, notebooks and textbooks piled high on my wobbly little table. All around me are students doing homework, locals browsing with computers, travelers communicating with family on the other side of the world. Each of the 27 people—a large share of them adorned with kerchiefs or dreadlocks—in this tiny room is using their laptop, engrossed in a solitary state of supreme espresso-centric contentedness.
Flagstaff is a hot spot for nomadic world travelers, located as it is in the middle of nowhere, with local hostels and coffeehouses commanding a large share of this inflow of foreign currency. The girl at the table next to mine has been here nearly as long as I have, chatting on speaker with family in ‘Spain’ Spanish, her large power adapter blocking 3 slots on the power strip. I figure it’s probably family because of how she speaks to different members, ending each conversation with explicit kisses directed at her microphone and webcam.
The sagging porches at the hostels are always overflowing with a happy assortment of transient intellectuals, conversing and strumming their guitars in the peaceful atmosphere. The tables under the trees at Macy’s likewise boast a similar gathering—persons checking their email and entering civilization for a brief period before heading off to a different destination, new friends, and a future blissfully free of plans and obligations.
I’m a little homesick I guess. I miss not being able to go to Georgetown on a whim and drop myself into a straight-line culture—if only for a day—with success defined as an education, career, hard work and a salary big enough to provide the next generation with a head start toward the same goals. Or, walk with the striven Irish of Boston, heady in old money and even older family names, keenly aware of my lowly Russian roots. New York with its seedy downtown dives where yesteryear’s notoriety hunched over bars and hosted back room Tammany meetings, where bohemia still lives on away from the beaten-path tourist areas. Stuffy mid- and uptown, cluttered as it is with more-recent celebrity legends of the Astors, Rockefellers, Lennons, and countless writers of literature that shaped America for better or for worse. I like to think for the better.
It’s been a long weekend. Half of yesterday was spent working on my final project for accounting class; summarizing the annual report of Brinker, Inc., extracting the gist of the company’s focus for the future and analyzing dozens of financial ratios to determine…I’m not sure what. As many of you know, I despise pompous language even though I write it too often. I suppose the pomposity attracts shareholders vital to the company’s perpetuity. The second half of yesterday was spent mountain biking with two other students. It’s how I keep going.
I’ve been in this coffeehouse for 7 hours—not unusual for me—so now I think I will steer the mountain bike down into Walnut Canyon for a few hours to touch nature a little on this beautiful day before diving back into the homework…