february, 2008

Fri, 8 Feb 2008 19:19:13 -0800

This is how I prefer to see old friends: on my turf, in San Francisco. Since coming back from DC, I've avoided travel to such an extent that even a foray into Berkeley to make soup with poor, broken-ribbed Emily has defined my radius (not counting a daily dip down the peninsula for work). Others went to Disneyland or camping earlier this week; having lost my sleeping bag of late and faced with the option of lingering at Nathan & Miranda's party last Sunday, eating soyrizo burritos and finishing off his beer, or going to REI, I chose the former. The decision turned out to make me a little stir-crazy, but it's been nice to just be in one place.

My world in San Francisco, even on the cold and rainy days, offers so much: Millennium and the ballet last weekend, me in black lace and eyeliner, him in a suit with an orange shirt, chivalrously holding an umbrella for me as I teetered in heels through the rainy night; Tuesday Zeitgeist and then a crazy ukelele lady, led by Tanya, with Bjarni in town; a last-minute progressive-organizers happy hour last night through out-of-towner Jon, at which I promptly ran into recent friend Ben, which led into smooth Manhattans at a new bar, eventually, back at a friends' place, dancing in our stocking feet to The Donnas until far too late (early-morning fog as I found a cab home reminding me of the last time I'd been out until 4 AM). And though the rain is seasonal, who wouldn't love the clear, mid-sixties weather this afternoon? Bjarni and I reclined around a table next to Google's vegetable garden this afternoon, me with my sleeves rolled up in an effort to glean as much vitamin D as possible from the warm sun, eating fennel-kumquat salad, vegan pizza, quinoa mac-n-"cheese" -- his recent few weeks in California, he said contemplatively (with the slower speech of those who have been up learning to waltz and drinking martinis with bitters until the wee hours), have solidified his desire to live here for a period of time, and soon.

Ahh, California!

Tue, 19 Feb 2008 18:25:34 -0800

This is the kind of weekend that San Franciscans mean when they talk about driving to the winter when you want it. And this is the kind of weekend I've been hoping for as long as I've been in California. On the drive back from Tahoe yesterday afternoon, Joe commented that he felt bad for Ilene's friend Karen, the only singleton amongst a gathering of, in addition to her, four couples at the cabin we'd all rented out for the weekend. And though Dan demurred that it couldn't have been that bad for her, I've been in those shoes one too many times -- the odd wheel out, the one not cuddling on a sectional sofa around the fire, not receiving helpful sous-chef assistance during preparation of dinner for 9, not given shotgun by default when he's driving; not referred to as part of a compound name: X and Y. The omissions were never intentional, and never grievous; but they were always thorny reminders of one's singlehood. But not me, not this time -- I changed my Facebook status a few weeks ago, and the agent of that change brought me coffee after a day on the slopes.

And what slopes! The weekend was chosen due to its length, not for knowledge of weather conditions, but we couldn't have picked better if we tried. The January storms have built up quite the base in the Sierras; arriving after them, we drove through residential streets piled high with walls of snow (driving right by the Safeway, completely obscured from the road by at least two stories of ploughed slush), and to slopes that, freshly groomed, had few or no patches of ice, and were soft enough to fall on, the few stupid times I underestimated my ability on a board and braked too hard from a precipitous descent, skidding to a halt too fast. The skies above the 8000+-foot peaks stretched vast, blue, and cloudless; I wore my jacket without its down underlayer, only fully zippered when on one of the fast-moving lifts, swinging up the mountain above the tops of giant pines. Taking a break on Sunday afternoon, letting Dan & Joe ski a few black diamonds without having to periodically wait for me, I sipped a coffee, sitting a green plastic Adirondack chair at the top of the backside of Northstar, wearing only snowpants, my boots loosened, and a light layer of a shirt. On a mountain, in winter.

I improved, too! The realization that a coffee with lunch didn't take my edge off the same way that a beer, however desired, without fail did, helped; even better, though, was being challenged by those better on skis than I was on my board: forced (willingly) to attempt more black diamonds than blue squares; led down those inclines at a much faster pace than I would have gone myself. And I mostly picked up the gauntlet that had been thrown down. At the end of our third day, this time at Alpine Meadows: Dan, streaking down the slopes in front of me, a blur of curly brown hair in a bright blue jacket, yelling "you're better than you think you are!" over the sled-like sussurations of my snowboard. And with that encouragement, I bombed down the rest of the mountain without braking, to arrive, out of breath, at the base of the lift where he was smiling approval.

I love this comfort. He kissed me hard, leaving breakfast this morning at Duboce Park Cafe; I kissed him back; I'll see him soon. I'm not so Zen that I can let go of all attachment, but if my twenties have taught me anything so far, it's what I don't want out of a relationship -- and so I'm happy with what is, just what is.

Snow, and a very good boy: All that I could ask for from winter.

Fri, 29 Feb 2008 17:43:22 -0800

Well, that was short-lived.

After a three-year dry spell in this otherwise-lovely Californian playground, I briefly got to entertain the thought that there was someone for me in it. Which is not to say there won't be, ultimately -- I'm such a fucking optimist it hurts; it's probably exactly that characteristic that lands me exactly here over and over: "What? Really? Why?" And, that trump card on the table, nothing else to be said. A box of Kleenex to be emptied; a Facebook status to re-change (so soon after I'd updated it to begin with!); questions that have no good answers to be mouthed -- but nothing, really, to be said. There it is; it's done.

I have trouble, at times like these, understanding how so many others make relationships work. Are there so many viable pairings in this city, even, that the hand-in-hand couples I see on streets and in restaurants aren't second-guessing each other's text messages? How does one get from here to being part of a affectionate, grey-haired couple in an opera box? How, for that matter, to even reach stability without subtext, let alone that whole "marriage" thing -- so far for me only a term that justifies the purchase of multiple expensive dresses (to wear, as an attendee, to same).

I don't understand, because I keep trying, and it keeps not working.

I suspect that I blind sometimes. Which is not to say that I want to figure out how to turn down the wattage; rather, that I need someone who thrives on the extra-bright, full-spectrum light.

A gorgeous sunset is striated across the sky above the freeway, oranges and fluffy purples blotting out what blue remains above the hills of the 280. At least I hadn't gotten in so deep that my metaphysical sense of beauty was affected.

Back to square one, I suppose.

all this Šnori heikkinen, February 2008

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