march, 2007

Mon, 5 Mar 2007 22:18:54 PST -0800

Erica must think I'm crazy; Mike must think I'm manic. She (my new roommate -- whether for longer than two months is questionable, but at least for now, we're playing music off our silvery computers for each other, talking about physical therapy, age differences in dating, and generally behaving like Emily and I used to in DC that summer) has seen me dashing around like a madwoman this last weekend, from SF Treasure Hunt to a semi-staged première of the newest John Adams opera (with Eric Owens!) to brunch to the boutique yoga clothes store in the Marina; he -- well, he averred Friday night that "[I] wouldn't be interesting if [I weren't] tortured," but it must get old quickly to see this swing from glee over the performances of Mahler we've been to, to barely holding it together during the Bartók 5th string quartet and a late Beethoven, played by the Borromeo at Stanford on Friday night.

Or maybe that's just me. Having lived with myself this long, I've seen this urgency ebb and flow; I've already hashed out, in so many ways, whether 'twould be nobler to follow my youthful dream of artistic abstraction, or to suffer the slings and arrows of geeks with diminished vocabularies in order to stay at one of the best intellectual playgrounds I might find. See? Even the Hamlet I employ to describe this feels like an indulgent exercise in teenage omphaloskepsis. This is how hackneyed this crisis feels to me.

So it was with great annoyance (and yet great ambivalence) that I found myself choking back tears Friday night. I've been to plenty of opera and symphony concerts this season and last! I've told Craig I can't do our post-work, building-42 duets anymore, because they make me too sad. So why the sudden waterworks? Oh, right: the quartet format.

But, honestly. At what point does this stop being tolerated? At sixteen, this passion and polymathic drive was admirable; at 26, it's starting to feel just sad. And it will only get worse -- at 36, lame; 46, pitiable? Midlife crises aside, I'm not sure one is allowed to have these kinds of lingering, central questions past college -- that time when we crystallized our beliefs on the presence or absence or ineffability of God; our politics. The dead horse I beat stays dead. And unless I actually quit my job and do this, what but quiet desperation?

Well, except for the fact that it's not so quiet, per se. After a difficult Friday night (the music; other revisited themes), the sun was out in a clear blue sky with a rainbow flag waving in the foreground of Twin Peaks; yoga fixed everything, as it always does; even though this stupid nerve in my gimpifying foot twinged as I ran around with Scott, Emily, Nick et al. in the treasure hunt for a few hours, the modernism and lyricism in Adams' new A Flowering Tree (that, plus the amazing Grüner Veltliner to which Jardinière's sommelier led us) put me right back where I needed to be: on the audience side of the stage, and loving it.

Fuck this recollection-in-tranquility shit. When I wanting to be in a quartet so badly that I'm having trouble swallowing, I don't want to blog; when I'm sipping the last of the Woodford Reserve bourbon and listening to new trance, the proverbial sun is out. Maybe that midlife crisis is going to come early for me. Or maybe I'll miss it, because I'm too busy blogging.

Fri, 16 Mar 2007 19:41:24 -0700

The shuttle I'm on is possibly the slowest one ever, modulo traffic -- we're maybe doing 40 at best, on a clunky white bus. But the sun's still setting to the west, and, despite having had to restart production monitoring services to pick up the two-weeks-early change to DST, despite the exhaustion to which it contributed last Sunday (is it ever not thus? Out partying until the wee hours at Lulu's on a Saturday night, looking at the timestamps on flirtatious text messages, and realizing that what you thought was 3 AM was actually 4; stupidly having made brunch plans for noon the next day, you show up well over an hour late for dairy-less pancakes), despite the stationary jet-lag it's induced in me, I'm grateful for the extra hour of sunlight -- especially when it's been perfect spring weather! The snow up north may be slushy and disappointing, ski-wise, but in what way does the brilliant morning sun at Duboce Park Café this morning, which lured me in for breakfast, postponing my shuttle in by one, not make up for that? I read my latest New Yorker at a table outside Slice today, sleeves of my t-shirt rolled up to tan my shoulders, eating Israeli couscous and kale, then coconut/key-lime vegan ice cream over strawberries with basil marinated in pomegranate syrup, and counted my blessings. A day of sun and outdoor food.

Things (though they're rarely down for long) look up. It looks as though I'll actually be able to stay with my new team at work, a huge improvement in situation. Annual bonuses have been paid out, always an upper. Cooper makes a nice Sazerac. And as for my viola, well, like the pain in my foot (I've demanded an MRI before any cortisone gets anywhere near my pedal nerves), it's receded back into white noise. The pain of both flares up from time to time; the latter, I will deal with with whatever medicine and methods, western or eastern, I can get my hands on; the former, I let subside, and file away on my mental "Things To Do When I Hit 30" list. Quitting my day job for music would make a good mid-life crisis, yes?

Burritos, cocktails, brunches, one-footed yoga, and sunlight await me in the city. If this bus ever gets there.

Sat, 24 Mar 2007 24:17:53 -0700

All today (okay, and this week or two), I've been sadder than I want to be. Elements conspire to frustrate. Instead of the sunny days of the month of weekends past (no snow to speak of, but damn was it idyllic in Dolores Park!), fog has recently begun to creep from the Richmond in over Twin Peaks, and this morning had made it as far as the Castro, as Duboce Triangle. I walked the one MUNI stop down Market to yoga, frustrated at the weather and the fact that the needlepoint pain in the interstice of the first and second toe joint in my right foot has lateralized, as it does, turning just walking into anywhere from uncomfortable to painful; but cognizant of the fact that two hours of meditation masked as heated contortions would set me right. Instead, even more so than last week, I found that putting pressure on that foot, as required by half the standing poses we do, was yet more of a bad idea. I pushed myself; my foot pushed back; I conceded, and went back to my crippled yoga-from-the-knees that I did all summer.

I'm twenty-fucking-six! I shouldn't have a chronic injury at this age! I thought this had been beaten back, through physical therapy, time, and patience! What does it take? I've sworn off heels -- the gold stilettos, even the Dansko clogs, have been relegated to the closet; my new, sleek, Israeli orange flats (the product of yet another attempt to buy sensible black shoes) have filled the apparent need in my life for cute pedal wear (excuse me, since when did I become a girl?!). I'm going to nerve-realignment Bowen therapy thingie sessions at work. I drowsily held still through the loud whirrs and clicks of an MRI of my foot Thursday morning. Phoebe at yoga today suggested an acupuncturist she knows in Mountain View. I'll try anything -- just tell me that the problem is deterministic, and how it can be addressed! I feel half-human, not even able to walk fully. Heels I can live without; yoga and the option to dance -- to even envision myself on stage like the ballerinas and -inos of this evening's performance by the San Francisco Ballet, whose toe shoes alone made me wince sympathetically -- I cannot.

And I'm not even in the pit! This reprise of my perennial music crisis has been sticking around, necessary but unappetizing and lingering like the aftertaste of envelope glue. Being new on my team at work, and the politics surrounding my transfer, while teaching me tons, is not doing wonders for my sense of career fulfillment or aptitude. But I couldn't imagine leaving Google right now -- I have more to do there, and this would be more than just caution to the wind, since I'd end up working at a coffee shop by day and crying over the fact that I probably can't even play scales in tune by night. No, I'm not ready for that yet. But if this keeps up, maybe I will be in two years.

It's days like this when I'm extra glad I live in San Francisco -- that is to say, in a place I love. New York on a good day would be nice, at best; San Francisco on a bad day still offers a new orange chair, bought this afternoon, that I've been coveting for over a month; patient yoga instructors who sympathize and help; an afternon of communal fridge- and kitchen-cleaning with roommates; a Jonny creation at Absinthe ("something dry with Hendrick's," said I; a beautiful cocktail including, in addition to the vegetal gin, sweet vermouth and elderflower liquer, with a spear garnish of cucumber and blood orange, was what I got); and the ballet and good company with Joanne and Blake. Talk about a support network.

I am not despondent. But I'm not usually this manic, either. I just need to be -- at least physically -- whole again. Now.

all this Šnori heikkinen, March 2007

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