I bolt out of the room as quickly as I can.  After my third full day of classroom training, I am ready to scream.  Though I am enjoying the learning and especially enjoying the community (my fellow students and our two leaders), the jungle woman within me is having no more of this domesticated crap.  Not only did the old 9-5 workday leave my life a long time ago, it also turns out that I have since developed a severe allergy to it.


Unfortunately, leaving the room is only a temporary solution, as I head downstairs and outside, because 30 feet away is the car.  From one constricted space to another, I settle into my brother’s green CRV that he has kindly let me borrow for today (though in this moment it seems like a death sentence).  The air is thick and stale inside the vehicle.  I quickly roll down the windows, start the car and I take a slow, deep breath.  I’ve got an hour plus of commuting through rush-hour traffic across the San Francisco Bay Bridge.  I need all of the zen I can get right now.

As I merge onto the freeway, I catch a glimpse of San Quentin in my periphery.  The enormous prison sits on the edge of one of the most beautiful bodies of water in the entire country, almost taunting inhabitants with the pleasures that come with freedom.  Oddly, I feel I can relate.  Though I chose this path, I didn’t count on the feeling of captivity that would come with the territory.

The hot sun furiously beats down on the car and some overplayed Maroon 5 song plays on the radio as I move at a snails pace.  The brake lights on the car in front of me go on and off as if on a 2-second timer.

In order to keep from going insane, I take my right hand off the wheel and start rummaging through the front pocket of my backpack.  I pull out a small, square-shaped red wrapper, containing a piece of chocolate that I had grabbed from the community bowl earlier today.  I carefully unwrap the sweet saving grace and pop it in my mouth.  For about ten seconds, as the melting treat coats the top of my tongue and the roof of my mouth, the traffic doesn’t seem quite so bad.  I then recall that this particular brand of chocolate boasts various inspirational quotes on the inside of its foil wrappers.  I pick it up, expecting to be told that I am beautiful or that I have a bright future ahead of me (hey, I’ll take it. Desperate times…).  Instead I am met with the message: ´Go anywhere but home.´

HA!  That’s weird.  That’s dumb.  I’m not doing that…I´m so tired and I should just go home and rest.  Still…

With that, I spin the steering wheel and pull off at the next exit, which happens to be towards the University of California at Berkeley.  I park the car and start walking until I find the right spot.  This brings us to the present moment, as I sit in a lively pizza bar, scribbling away in my journal.  I have a glass of wine in front of me, the windows are open, letting in a cool breeze and a live jazz band is playing just outside.  The smell of freshly baked cheese permeates the room, as pies whiz past me and are placed in the hands of mouth-watering customers.

For the first time in days, I can happily say that I am exactly where I want to be at this moment,  There is no one I need to talk to, nothing I need to do except sip my sauvignon blanc and take in the glorious world around me.  This is what I needed…all thanks to a piece of chocolate.