You’re in Austin, TX. It’s a place you’ve wanted to visit since you learned about Jim Hightower in 2002. For a while after, you didn’t care about it. This year when a work opportunity came up, you thought about your friends and said sure. Now you are here and unsure if this is a work trip or visiting friends. Either way, the highlight of the entire weekend is the free rental car upgrade with a sunroof. You’ve lived without a sunroof for nearly 20 years, and you’ve missed the freedom. No one is sure why a sunroof is a freedom, but you remember having the moon roof open in the rain, and you’re sure it means getting everything you’ve ever wanted (without hurting anyone unless you ask yourself about manufacturing conditions and then you’re not so sure).
Speeches are being given about that great innovator Jeff Bezos and you remember again that some people refer to that building as the Amazon Spheres and you keep forgetting that’s what they’re called and not just the shape. The hope Seattle was supposed to represent in your life comes to mind. When you get home, Facebook will share a memory of your first worse than ever before sinus headache turned migraine attack from when you moved to Seattle. You do not know this yet.
When you get to the airport, you’ll learn there’s been an attempt on the life of President Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela; again, you do not know this yet. It’s in your bones to check Facebook whenever things like this happen because ex-family is still family and you need to confirm they’re okay. No matter what you understand now, how you will react is entirely predictable and has been most of your adult life. All the arguments you’ve had about whether living is the adrenaline or the calm space in-between, you recognize how you handle both.
He is asking if you practice magic and you are practicing restraint by not listing your price for an answer. Yet you remember it is a valid question. You have not yet taken the magic rental car with a sunroof out for a joyride. That happens tomorrow. You will find the river in Austin because you remember this is how one navigates a college town. On the other side, you find yourself in a wealthy neighborhood. You could have turned at any time. Later, you’ll follow random signs that you assume are a point of interest but instead are the name of a town. For a second, you’ll remind yourself you should have known, but your laughter will tell you this was still fun. Your partner for this adventure will point out giant houses where treasure must live, and you joke about fighting ninjas to finish the quest. There is freedom in the sunroof being open as you look across big sky country to play this game.
The layers in the topography will speak to you. When you get home, you’ll Google them. In your reading, you’ll confirm your suspicion the cut open hills along the highways are limestone. They remind you of the sandstone of Ledges State Park in Iowa. Everything makes you think about glaciers and soil in Iowa. Maybe that’s really the answer he was looking for all night: my existence is an incantation and some days it is enough.