Memory… is the diary that we all carry about with us. ~Oscar Wilde, “The Importance of Being Earnest”
A friend of mine tells me that moving is the second most stressful activity one can undertake. By that measure, I am completely stressed out. To be honest — I am not! What I am …. is a little sad. And yet I am delirious. This is the first move in almost five years and I am viewing it as a new beginning.
For as long as I can remember, I have lived in a high-rise building, mostly because I liked the conveniences and anonymity a high rise glasshouse can offer. It is a cocoon, a prison of our own choosing and a place which is entirely private. One check, a few phone calls and a couple of sawbucks solve all the little nagging problems. It is just the kind of highly optimized living that makes perfect sense for a start-up founder who is perpetually short of time.
Perhaps that is why my current dwellings, the ones I will vacate tomorrow will always be associated with a phase of my life where I lived life at web speed. In the end the fast paced living ended costing me my health. Ever since I returned back from the hospital last year, I have been wanting to do a clean reboot. And part of that means moving to a newer, bigger and calmer abode. One where I can savor every breath that passes through my body. One where I can enjoy the company of my friends and family, all sitting around enjoying the life that is us.
And yet, I am sad to leave my Financial District apartment. On a foggy night, my 17th floor apartment felt as if it was floating on the clouds, sounds of the city muted, a fog horn sometimes break the melancholy that night always sweeps in. I am going to miss playing the hide-and-seek with The Pyramid. Will there be a sight as beautiful as the first rays of sunshine touching the Coit Tower, much like the first kiss of young love?
I will miss my Starbucks, affectionately known as OmBucks because that is where I started my little company with Katie and Liz. Those countless meetings with all those entrepreneurs who shared their fears, ambitions and dreams with me over countless cups of coffee. It didn’t matter who they were: they had to endure the loud music, the hiss of the coffee machine and occasionally a crying child. Of course there were many nights when I would stop at Kokkari to “take out” a grilled fish.
Home is where you can say anything you like cause nobody listens to you anyway. ~Author Unknown
I had moved to the Financial District, mostly because it reminded me a little of my life back in New York. Despite having lived in San Francisco for over six years, I still get uncomfortable when I don’t see tall buildings. I liked to live and walk among the dark concrete canyons. A few steps away from Business 2.0 offices, smack in the middle of Financial District, cabs around the corner, it was as comfortable an existence as one could have.
But with GigaOM becoming the focus of my life in 2006, it became less of a refuge and more of a work space. Filing cabinets, work table, documents — the place became a controlled mess, that stopped being a home. Even when we moved into a new office, nothing really changed — I was unable to switch from work to home mode, often answering emails late at night, catching a few minutes of sleep before resuming writing. And then it all changed.
As I clear the detritus of past five years, moving is proving to be less stressful and more emotional. I am finding pieces of my past, memories that are taking me places I had been before. Wedding invitations from my sister, brother and countless friends who are happily married. Rakhis! Letters from my mother, holiday cards from friends, photos of my friend Emily’s twins, my nephew and nieces.
Ticket stubs from my trips to Tel Aviv, Paris, London and New Delhi. My notes from a visit to Austin where I met Stacey Higginbotham, one of the writers at GigaOM. Dozens of moleskins with random scribbles about technology, life and the future. Thoughts, hastily-jotted interviews with famous people, yellowing business cards… review clippings of my book, Broadbandits: Inside the $750 billion Telecom Heist. My first and the only royalty statement for the book! (Wonder when will John Wiley & Sons send me the updated information.)
Looking through this stuff, I suddenly felt as if I had hit the rewind button on movie called my life. In a few hours the movers will show up… and then this tiny apartment would once again be empty. Ready for someone else to create their new memories. I will be long gone – having wrapped up my memories in a cobweb woven by time. I will start afresh, collecting new memories!
PS: It does mean that I will blogging less for a couple of days. Apparently it will at least be a week before I get any kind of broadband. Comcast says my apartment isn’t in their database so, I can’t get broadband till they survey the joint. AT&T can’t get out there for another week and the best speed they can offer is 6 Mbps. I am hoping Sonic.net can get me 18 Mbps ADSL2+ but even they are going to take at least a week. I am going to be using MiFi to email and blog, but with a 5 GB transfer limit – even that is going to be a challenge.