may, 2008

Wed, 14 May 2008 19:45:18 -0700

Perhaps the stable state -- that time when things are not aflutter, nor sinking; the balance tipping towards very good; the days getting longer, even a heat wave giving me tank-top tans as I eat vegetables on the patio at lunch, my shoes kicked off and my newly-cut hair pulled back off my neck (my built-in temperature control), reflecting with Maya, with whom I was a Noogler, that we're approaching three years this Friday at work -- does not lend itself as well to my obsessive chronicling tendencies, in which I remark on extremes, float ideas that need to be crystalized, turn events into tropes and patterns. Or perhaps I've just been lazy.

Or busy, feeling like a hippie, in weeks past: I've feel healthier than I have in a while. It's certainly partially the hippie food I'm quaffing and gobbling as my primary diet -- not only content with veganism, I move farther and farther into the realm of lightly-cooked vegetables, fruits (albeit mostly in compotes, jams, and smoothies), grains, and avocados (now again approaching seasonability!). Picking up some béchamel to take home that I made the other afternoon in a cooking class at work from Slice, Justin the chef hands me a bowl of his masaman-curry carrot-ginger soup to drink on the spot: heavenly. (What's your secret? I asked, and he pointed to a pitcherful of just-pressed carrot juice on the back counter.) I stopped by the same cafe that morning on my way in, picking up a shot of something green and fresh; they're a staple in my lunch rounds, during which I basically collect all the vegan, mostly-vegetable dishes from up to three cafes and then eat them, like a rabbit, in the sun.

The other component, certainly, is the greaty increased amounts of yoga I've been doing recently, beginning with a late April weekend's yoge retreat up in Wildwood. With about 35 others, I put myself through 18 hours of yoga in the equivalent of 3 days, the rest of the 4-day weekend encompassing jacuzzi-lounging, poolside-sitting, eating, and sleeping. I can now stand on my head in new and interesting ways! My forearms, even! And, in the subsequent week, I've been cutting out of work early to go to yet more yoga, to see familiar faces in class, to balance out a Tuesday night's pitchers of Racer 5 IPA at Zeitgeist, to sweat and be chill and be happy.

Now, I'm sitting here with a full glass of sauvignon blanc (this wine that, I think, as I unscrew the cap from the bottle from the door in my fridge, would remind me immediately of San Francisco, Napa, warm sunlight and summer wines: my California madelaine); Portishead's new Third playing from my iPod through my Tivoli radio (it's been on repeat-all since I opened it two weeks ago, almost; Saturday night as mood music; shuttle rides both down and back, which I never do), my middle bay window thrown open and the white curtains pulled back, through which I saw the last striations of the sunset on the clouds above Fillmore and the Lower Haight, through which now rumbles the sound of the N up and down Duboce. The first real warm night of summer. The kind of night we never get out here, even often during the brief spring that sprouts, green and golden, before the Pacific fog overlays the city during "July."

And work is good: Promoted, recruited, finally. Fuck. That took long enough. And I'm happy to stay where I am.

Summer approaches. I can feel it in the optimism, the long warm sun, the equilibrium, and the new strawberries. I love where I am.

Tue, 27 May 2008 18:40:51 -0700

I do, really, despair (in that peppy, optimistic kind of way that I suppose belies the word) of meeting people here. Emily's impending departure for parts east (let's say it, shall we? Harvard -- that place we all chose against for undergrad, the name that got oohs and aahs and good for yous from well-meaning parents of friends at winter-break Solstice and Boxing-Day potlucks, while our college's name got oh, Philadelphia? at best), which just casts into relief, as both she and I reflected on it over beers at the new Monk's Kettle on 16th St., or over a generous pitcher of California-cabernet sangria at Ramblas on Valencia Friday night, just who we have in our lives. And who (or what kind of people) we don't.

She doesn't yet know from firsthand experience what to make of most of her soon-to-be grad-school cohort, but I have my inklings and suspicions that they'll be awesome, and am jealous for (excited of?) her. To her known unknowns, though, I've got the known knowns: More left than right (the Question Of The Day at Cafe Gratitude, after Claire & I scarfed avocados and quinoa on Sunday afternoon was: "What is sacred about this moment?"), they're also more footwear than footnotes, more hipster than Heidegger, more polyamory than politics. The demographic that is drawn here is not made up of the east-coast, liberal-arts-school, intellectual population; but rather the burner, the freak, the hippie, the anarchist.

And of course, this is why I moved here: To not have to be the most liberal, punky kid on the block, compelled to shave my head and dye the stubble pink just to fill that demographic hole, but to have it done for me: Done by cute boys with curly hair who wear thick, curly earrings and leather jackets; done by coworkers known for their purple hair; done by tens of thousands in the Black Rock Desert each August (to name a few). But I never stopped to consider that in gaining one parameter, I might lose another. Or, to be fair, I was warned -- and I knowingly took my chances.

I compared notes with a visiting Colin yesterday over a bottle of 100% Tempranillo yesterday at Paréa, telling him what he's already known. He'd warned me three and a half years ago -- warned me, but also was, with Emily, the biggest proponent of my coming out here. Didn't attempt to say he told me so. Just agreed. Nodded, as the wine opened up in our glasses, became less punchy, was lightened by the Greek feta he ate by the chunk, I snuck guilty-but-rapturous crumbles of. I threatened to move to Seattle; he asked if I honestly thought that was a more intellectual town. He suggested London; I countered that I couldn't quite see myself as an ex-pat anymore, removed from the ambitious, can-do spirit of this country. He pointed out that I'm ridiculously happy here. We drank more wine.

And it's true that to leave here would make me desperately -- at least, in that quiet-desperation kind of way -- unhappy. Despite my substantial lock of real peers, I do mostly love it here. To wit: To be in a taxi, careening down the acute slopes of Fillmore or Divis after a night of drinking someplace north and east (be it seeing a lady in sparkly makeup and a self-consciously precious attitude strumming a ukulele with a rock-band backup, or merely sipping substandard whiskey from tourist bars near Italian restaurants in North Beach), your speed only broken by the horizontal cross-streets, over the mesas of which the lumbering, metered vehicles catch air, sending you briefly flying, suspended in the air -- the shoes you've kicked off, your bag, you, the driver, and the car all hurtling together across a skyscape of topography, Sutro Tower silhouetted against the night fog -- the warm, benevolent buzz of alcohol enhancing your sense of abandon down these hills towards home: This is one of the pleasures, neither great nor small, of what I suppose must be being young in this city.

all this Šnori heikkinen, May 2008

<-- April || today || June -->

back to front