I’m pretty good at giving advice. Pretty lousy at taking it. In my pocket I carry a worn excerpt from something I photocopied:
“It is the height of folly to refuse the present hour of happiness, or wantonly to spoil it by vexation at by-gones or uneasiness about what is to come. There is a time, of course, for forethought, nay, even for repentance; but when it is over let us think of what is past as of something to which we have said farewell, of necessity subduing our hearts – and of the future as of that which lies beyond our power, in the lap of the gods.”
Philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer wrote that some 200 years ago. I know, I know, basically he’s just saying “Be present,” but in much more elegant words than I can string together.
I’ve shared that quote with friends and strangers over the years, not to let them know where I am, but to let them know where I aspire to be. In moments – watching the last two minutes of a Warriors game, sharing sushi with the right person, DJ-ing to a packed house at the bars – past regrets and future anxieties melt away – but it’s fleeting and not easy.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve heard that you have been unable to follow?
On Thursday, in Rome, Pope Francis washed the feet of 12 disabled and elderly people – women and non-Catholics among them – in a pre-Easter ritual emulating the gesture of Christ washing the feet of his apostles.
“Jesus made a gesture, a job, the service of a slave, a servant,” said the pontiff. “And he leaves this inheritance to us we need to be servants to one another.”
Fine. Sounds good.
Traditionalist Catholics disapproved of the gesture, noting that the ritual is typically performed only on men, in an attempt to mimic Christ washing the feet of his male disciples.
I wouldn’t presume to answer the question “WWJD,” but I seriously doubt JC would be so petty as to care about the gender of those whose feet Francis is washing. Didn’t Jesus hang out with tax collectors and prostitutes? Read more...
…you’re not the only one hearing the “Thirty Rock” theme song right now. Okay: I know there’s nothing more tedious than asking strangers to look at your vacation pictures, BUT, I just think these are gorgeous. Am I biased? You bet. Read more...
I was primed to love it. This was to be an afternoon of nostalgia and intellectual stimulation. I had seen the ad in our local free weekly: a lecture was being given by distinguished professor Aihwa Ong, entitled “Where the Wild Genes Are.”
That’s what my favorite bank teller (yes, I have a favorite bank teller), Eyasu “Josh” Felleke, told me, after we started chatting about coffee. He had read a post I wrote about a latte I enjoyed at particular coffee shop in Berkeley.
“I know the Elmwood Café,” he said one day as he was waiting for my deposit receipt to pop up, “it’s one of my favorite places.”
“How can you not love it – they still have an old soda fountain like it was 1955.”
“I know, right?”
“Still can’t decide whether I like the taste – or the smell – of coffee better.” Read more...
I got in just before closing on a Friday afternoon. It was 5:53 and I was running behind. The security guard had already unlocked the entry door gate and was just waiting seven more minutes until he could shut and lock it.
I was the only customer in the bank. I had deposits to make for both bars and didn’t want to keep anybody from their weekend plans, least of all me. Read more...
It is my terrible and humbling privilege to write a few words about Cira Felina Bolla, who succumbed to cancer two days ago, at the age of 41.
I met Cira two years ago, and in that time, we became collaborators and friends. We worked together on three projects and multiple martinis – she was my cinematographer – and I got to know something of her personality and character.
I would like to share with you a few moments spent in her company.
Several months ago one of our patrons, a young man who works as a busboy at a nearby restaurant, was hit by a car as he left the bar and suffered serious head trauma. He was placed in an induced coma for a month.
I don’t know him, but according to my staff, James is a very nice, unassuming guy who just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time.
He has no memory of the accident. More than that, he has suffered complete amnesia. He is in a group care facility and his family and friends visit him daily. He has learned to walk again, but he does not yet know who he is. I don’t know if he has come to recognize his parents and friends or not, but one detail I heard struck me. Read more...