Little J goes to a better place
Editor’s note: Vail resident Polly Letofsky has been on the road since she left town Aug. 1, 1999, on her mission to become the first woman to walk around the world and promote awareness of breast cancer. From Vail she first walked to the West Coast, then crossed to the two islands of New Zealand, up the eastern coast of Australia and on to Malaysia and Southeast Asia, India, Turkey, Greece, Great Britain and Ireland. She’s now back in the United States, having arrived in New York City and crossed New York State to the Canadian Border at Niagara Falls and made her way to her home state of Minnesota. She’s crossed into Colorado and is expected to reach Vail on Friday. You can follow along with Polly’s journey on her Web site, http://www.globalwalk.org.DENVER – At the Starbucks on downtown Denver’s 16th Street Mall, I was plunking away on my little Jornada HP computer, observing the life of corporate Americans walking briskly with important destinations. They’ve got a handful of latte-grande-skinny-no-whips and they’re planning lunches and closing deals on their hands-free cell phones. Their shirts are pressed and their SUVs are parked in $150-a-month parking spots. I wonder if I’d ever fit into their world, or if I’d ever want to. There’s a craving in me for routine, to have a set of keys that tells me I have a life – a home, a car, a job, a gym locker.
Human beings are creatures of habit and routine, something I’ve been absent from for five years. But if I were to belong to this crowd walking down Denver’s 16th Street Mall with a latte-grande-skinny-no-whip and a hands-free cell phone dangling down my pressed suit for more than, say, a week, would the walls close in? Is it really routine I want and need, or is it just a community with favorite neighborhood digs and best girlfriends to giggle with?I wish you could try on a new job and a new lifestyle like you test drive a car. Maybe I should start with a part-time gig where I could dress in a T-shirt and shorts and ease my way in to a new life. One week I could trade in my T-shirt for a pressed blouse, and within a couple months I’ll be decked out to the nines in Anne Klein striding down the 16th Street Mall in pumps and a flip-phone.I’m jotting down all my observations of the world passing by and my dreams and fears for the upcoming year.
My little computer is filled with five years of such stream-of-consciousness keyboard tapping. It’s held together with duct tape and hanging on its hinges, but it’s priceless. This little computer has been my savior over the miles, my shoulder to bitch on, where I could rant with fury, share secrets, say anything – no political correctness, no tip-toeing through the tulips – and this little computer would never talk back or judge me in my moments of heated self-discourse. It’s been my counselor, my teacher, my friend, my confidant.Like Nancy Reagan, I knew the final day was near but the finality is still heartbreaking. This little computer that’s been with me through most of my 14,000 miles was on its way out. Today in the 16th Street Mall Starbucks tapping away about my concerns wearing pumps and city driving, the mother board started going kablooie. The spacebar started igniting fireworks and that’s when I began to prepare for final rites.
I quickly saved my five years of memories onto a little flashcard, tucked it in my pocket and closed the lid that is hanging on by two threads. Just one month from the finish line my computer closed its eyes and bowed out. Anyone watching had to wonder why the strange girl in the Starbucks was laying her head down on a computer held together with duct tape and a single tear rolling down her cheek. We’re all a bit weary, both of my cameras are on their last legs, my radio combusted a few days ago, even Bob has a good share of rips and tears. I feel like one of those marathon runners who wobbles uncontrollably the last few miles only to collapse at the finish line. Knock on wood, at least I’m still healthy. I’ll just tuck my little computer inside Bob amid the sick cameras and the busted radio and like a little team we’ll all wobble to the finish line together.