ONLY CONNECT... Wanderings and wonderings from Anchorage to Zanzibar; issues in blindness, and fun with guide dogs; connecting with friends and family.
Michael Meteyer is currently a Field Representative an internationally acclaimed dog guide school. Part of his job involves traveling around the country and the world to interview applicants for admission to the various programs at the school. Previous to this, Michael had been in the blindness field for nearly two decades.
Previous to that Michael had been: a carpenter; a commercial salmon fisherman; a taxi cab driver; a production manager for a clothing firm in Chinatown, San Francisco (didn't last long there); a sheep rancher; a horse rancher; a seller of cut flowers; a tree surgeon; a bookstore manager; a student at a Zen center, a framer in an art gallery; a teacher of creative writing; and, in seventh grade (Saint Boniface School, the Men's Club in the basement) a bowling pin setter.
The last job required skills which, alas, are no longer in demand.
February 24th 2014
Travel snapshot, near the Ardeche, a tourist-free zone of France, maybe a couple hours northwest of Avignon. Cathars, the medieval heretics who doubted Christ's divinity, yet believed that humans could reach spiritual perfection, once marched on these hills. The ghosts of Troubadors, whom some say invented the western concept of Romantic love, still roam the fields of lavender and sunflowers. The sunlight here is aqueous, you feel it flood over you; and the soil is protected from chemicals by the locals. The vintners refuse to artificially irrigate their vineyards: it is up to Nature, they believe, to give drink to the vines. It is Nature's whim to decide how sweet or tart or pungent or oakey the grapes will become this year. The mount of water in each field, which also means the sugar content of ... read more
December 18th 2010
Growing up in the winters of western New York is good practice if your desire is to be reincarnated as a Santa in a snow globe. I was there for work, and family, and also especially to meet some of of my old classmates and teammates from some 40 plus years ago, survivors of an all boys Jesuit prep school 1961-65. It was fabulous, seeing so many of them again. It was exactly as if I had wandered back to 1965 in the Senior Hall, and we were all wearing Halloween outfits of what we might look like at the turn of 2010. Our charismatic and colorful host, John B, was an Orson Wells kind of guy. He lives with his family in a Dickensian manse swallowed in snow and girded with lights, having designed a ... read more
January 13th 2010
AND THE WINNING FLYER IS.... first a true story. Years ago, in Rabat, Morocco, I traveled around the country and met several Moroccans who lived in or taught at one of the blind schools in that marvelous country. I befriended several of them. One of the most remarkeable (we'll call him "Mohammed": it's as popular a name as "Michael" in many places in the Arab world) who told me how he had fallen from a three story building, had part of his skull crushed and a good portion of his visual cortex destroyed, and had lost all of his vision. "And this" Mohammed declared to me, after telling his story"is proof that God exists!". I was frankly taken aback by his certainty, and I asked him, respectfully, if he could elaborate. With the particular smile on ... read more
January 1st 2010
Happy New Year Everyone It's 9:50 PM as I write this, and it's 2010 AD or CE back East (and in much of the rest of the world), so... here's a last minute list of answers for the last raffle questions: (they have to be sent by 11:59 PM Th 12/31/09 Pacific Coast time) Nate will draw the winning entry out of my Irish Donegal hat in the next couple days.... 1) Violetta St. 2) Mountain Theater 3) Biochemistry 4) Capoeira 5) Max and Chelsea 6) Awanhee Brave 7) Sam Shepard 8) A mirror 9) Peacocks 10) Polenta 11) Swimming 12) Japan 13) "I'll see what I can do..." 14) I dunno 15) Allman Brothers 16) 1996 17) Toggenberg ... read more
December 24th 2009
WISE BLOOD In March of this year I began "Only Connect" with the unstated purpose of finding someone who was very close to me, but whom I had not yet met. It was a kind of "Hail Mary Pass". Also a stated purpose, and also true: the blog is a lifeline for me on the road, to stay in touch with friends and family, new and old. The connection was successful beyond my wildest dreams. Last week, my last trip of the year, I was in Milledgeville, Georgia, visiting the house and grounds of Andalusia, where the wonderful and wonderous Flannery O'Connor lived for the last 13 years of her very short life; and where she wrote the novel, WISE BLOOD. Flannery could mix the sacred, the grotesque, the mundane and the transcendent in a way ... read more
November 3rd 2009
This year has travelled more than I have, and faster. Only two months left for the Raffle Quiz. Here's are new RQs: 11.1: What is the national bird of Bhutan? 11.2: What year were USA advisors first sent to Vietnam? 11.3: Lo Muthang: where?... read more
July 18th 2009
No one can rival the Pomp of the French in most Circumstances: but for the 220th anniversary of Bastille Day, as well as the 120th anniversary of the Eiffel Tower... you knew it would be something special. So, Kate and I rallied our creaking bones from our hotel on the Rue de Corcelles, then slowly tumbled downhill past the Arc de Triumph towards the Trocadero, where we hung a hard left and ended up on the North Bank, by the Ave. New York, in an attempt to miss as much of the crowd of 800,000 as possible. In any event we ended up wedged between (and crammed amongst) some 799,998 other celebrants including a mother holding her awestruck toddler, and a group of drunken postgrads, the loudest of whom was a dead ringer for Borat. It ... read more
July 17th 2009
(The names of the people and places are disguised in this post...) Some forty years ago I left the East Coast to visit my friends "Robert" and "Angela." I was on my way to France to become a novelist. Robert and Angela were hippies, working in the leather trade. We lived together for a while in their two room cabin near City College in San Francisco. We "dumpster dived" in the Safeway bins for day -old bread and other delicacies just past their expiration date, but nonetheless edible. Robert went on to become an executive, then a CEO at a well known clothing firm. Angela's unique form of genius was applied to interior design for very upscale homes. Now, they own an extraordinary place somewhere in southern France, where Kate and I were recently guests. The ... read more
July 4th 2009
We were on the Pont Neuf. Beneath us the Seine was roiling liquid jade. Above us, in the Parisian sky, a bevy of winged, chubby cherubs were floating, disguised as clouds. We knew better. In front if us a neatly dressed attractive woman in her thirties was smiling warmly at Kate and me. We were strangers passing in the day, our smiles and eyes all complicit in the shared beguilement of a perfect moment. "Bon jour," she said "Bon jour right back at ya bien sure" we answered. We were in a buoyant mood, freely dispensing smiles and bilingual idioms garnished with a dollop of pun. She had passed us less than three steps when she whirled and said, "Oh, Madame, Monsieur. I have this for you..." She pulled out a gleaming goldish ring and offered ... read more
May 2nd 2009
"We think you are insulting us," said Akmed, the blind Moroccan, "when you say that time is no problem in Morocco". As the Technical Coordinator for the Peace Corps Orientation and Mobility program (Stage, '93) I was hosting a seminar for the administrators of the blind schools from all over Morocco. I had been given two days notice to coordinate it. My first response: a PANEL! I figured if I got a panel of people together to discuss blindness issues, spoke real slowly, and used complex American jargon that would take the translator thrice as long to find an Arabic equivalent, I'd be able to make it through the day and use my allotted time fully, if not completely productively. Time... Yes, I had perhaps been a bit insensitive on occasion to the cultural differences between ... read more