Category Archives: change

The Refinery

A man walked into an office, and looking at the woman behind the desk he asked, “What’s going on here? Are you guys open for business or what?”

“Yeah, we’re open,” she said.

“I saw your sign,” he said. “Are you a new business? The Refinery — what’s that? What do you guys do?”

“We refine,” the woman replied.

“Really,” he said, “Is that new?”

“No, it’s what we have always done,” she said, “We just have a new name to help people understand it.”

“Okay?” he said.

“We’re a church,” she added.

“Oh,” he said.

Then he turned and walked out with a wave — that dismissive, cool, shrug and gesture universally popular among people who have it all together.

“Wow,” the woman turned and said to her colleague in the adjacent office, “He left so quickly that I’m not sure if he was interested in our matte finish, or our high gloss.”

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The Spaces To Which We Have Grown Accustom

“You could move to the larger room,” he suggested.

“Well, I have never really thought much about that,” she said. “I guess I could.

He walked into the smaller of the two bedrooms in her condo. It was crowded, a small bed, desk, book shelves, old books.

There was twice the space in the empty master suite just a few feet down the hall. Years had past since her roommate, living in this master suite, had moved out of the condo.

The larger master bedroom included a dressing room, two walk-in closets and a master bathroom. It was a much bigger and brighter space, with a large window opening out onto the patio.

“I could help you move your stuff,” he said. “It wouldn’t take long, and this smaller room would make a perfect office. He paused. She look stunningly unexcited, so he added. “I think the bigger space would be so much more luxurious for you. You could even have a bigger bed.”

“Well, that is so nice of you,” she replied. “I have been thinking about a new bed.”

They stood in silence for a moment, as if contemplating an insurmountable possibility lying on a divine plateau somewhere between his mind and hers.

“Well, just give me a call,” he said to break the awkwardness.

She didn’t, but instead left things as they were — bricked and mortared within the dim interior of the tiny cubicle to which she had grown accustom.

After he left, she retreated to her small room and muttered to herself, “I never did much believe in heaven.”

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Arrivals and Departures

“The whole discussion is ridiculous!” they said, and with that they hunkered down, hard as porcelain, bolted-down and sealed.

“Honestly, we don’t agree,” said the lights.

“Really!” the toilets said stubbornly, standing their ground. “An airport is an airport is an airport. An airport is a place for traveler’s to arrive and depart. An airport is the one thing in this world that can itself never depart, and it can never arrive somewhere else.”

The carpet throughout the airport agreed — carpet tends to be very conservative — and so did all the terminal’s seating, and for that matter all the signs. There is nothing that hates change as much as a sign.

We must accept reality,” the careful coalition said. “We are what we are, and we are obviously here to stay!” They proclaimed this vehemently, and they held their ground.

But the airport restaurants, the shops, lights, all the gates and the entire terminal structure, even the tarmac, rose up and aligned against the bathrooms, seats and carpet.

“Everything changes,” they said, and everyone and everything can choose to change. It’s in our hands” they argued, “It is our turn, if we want it to be.”

“Dream away, dreamers,” claimed the coalition of caution, “but it’s physically impossible for an airport to just get up and move!”

“No, it’s not!” shouted the hopeful collaborators.

“We are San Francisco International!” the bathrooms, carpets, signs and seats shouted back in unison. “That is all we will ever be!”

“Yes, we are, shouted all the restaurants, shops, signs, gates, buildings and tarmac, “but it is time to go to Paris!”

They chanted. The airport vibrated. “What was was but now no longer is!”

And that was that, and those with a will to change prevailed, and on November 27 at 4:45 pm, San Francisco International airport flew — the whole thing. The tarmac ripped from the ground in one solid, flat piece, carrying with it all the airplanes, trucks, crews, pilots and passengers on board. The terminal followed, lifting carefully, carrying with it the passengers, the employees the carpets and bathrooms, seats and signs — all flew.

The world reaction was all over the place — fear, astonishment, disbelief, wonder and some celebration, but once in the air, there was no going back. The momentum was toward Paris.

And when San Francisco International Airport arrived in Paris as an airport, it had to pass over Charles de Gaulle Airport — there being no place big enough to land — and settle to the ground in a field outside of Paris. Not one thing or one person was harmed, but despite what the signs said along the way, or what the bathrooms said they wanted — it was not longer San Francisco International Airport.

There was quite a stir about it throughout the world, and there was no agreement on how to explain it, or to put it to proper use, but one thing was certain; despite a widespread desire to figure the whole thing out, no one could, nor did any one have any ideas at all of how to get all of it back to San Francisco in one piece.

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