Saturday, September 29, 2007

Walkabout

In the morning, freshly revived from the feeling of sadness induced by having her first submission rejected the night before, she received a phone call from a friend and colleague who needed advice on a Pro Tools technical question. Although she had never met this woman in person, she had spent hours with her on the phone over the years, both training her, and just chatting in general. They had become close. She went outside to the perch at the top of the stairs and talked on the phone while staring out over the bay. The view was impeccably clear. She could even see the windmill on Angel Island, the tines of which would often disappear in a hint of haze. The friend suggested she contact a woman living and working in Asia and who might possibly become an important mentor in the pursuit of her career. When she heard this revelation, she felt a strange feeling; it was hard to explain, kind of like a warm feeling that said 'yes'. What it meant, however, was that she might need to spend a significant portion of her life living and working in Kathmandu.

Immediately the fear began to set in. She went out for a walk around the city to clear her mind. Meandering through the city, she found herself down at Fisherman's Wharf. Tourists dressed in San Francisco t-shirts and khaki shorts, weighing more than is healthy ambled by, licking ice cream cones and eating cotton candy. Deep in her own thoughts, she hurried by a number of local street artists: a man beating on various pots and pans in excellent rhythms, several mimes who painted themselves silver and did hip hop dance routines on milk carts. A lone saxophone player blasted his horn into her ear as she passed and she quickly reached up to protect her already damaged hearing.

Her ears were still ringing from her sojourn to Kathmandu earlier in the year. This happened because she failed to take precautions to protect herself from the un-muted honks of the motorbikes which crowd the narrow streets; the sound magnified by the surrounding buildings would cause her to double over in pain. That combined with a genetic disposition for tinnitus caused an irreversible hearing loss.

And now she might go to Kathmandu for a while. A long while. It is possible she may have the opportunity to study journalism with a Fulbright Scholar who is busy setting up radio and print operations over there, and that she, in turn could help this woman because of her wealth of technical expertise. The drawback? She would have to leave her family and friends behind, of whom she is quite attached, and be really incredibly brave.

On the other hand, she has never felt more of a sense of freedom in her life than she did when she was in Kathmandu. And at this moment, there really are no reasons why she shouldn't do it. She wondered if she would step up to the plate of what has been calling her for years. If it wasn't going to happen now, it might not ever happen and she might have to settle into some kind of menial desk job that didn't suit her personality at all.

Of course, she realized that all of these thoughts were presumptuous. After all, she hadn't spoken to or even shared an e-mail exchange with this person. And yet, it was as if some kind of earthquake was just starting to rumble within her, and it was going to be a very large temblor.

She would need to sit with this for a while, until the next chapter revealed itself. It did occur to her that perhaps the attenuated earplugs she bought for her next trip to Asia were quite a fortuitous purchase.
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