august, 2008

Mon, 4 Aug 2008 23:41:43 -0700

I asserted to Emily over dinner Saturday night at Thep Phanom, munching the green curry we both dream about, that, no really, I was doing just fine. And I meant it. But then, Sunday afternoon, something about the chilly afternoon in Golden Gate Park, about being the odd wheel (walking through the gorgeous glass of the Chihuly exhibit at the de Young, it was Jaime & Vince, Emily & Mike(!), and me), presented a contrast to what we'd all been last week: an even six at Bourbon & Branch, coyly smiling at each other in twos and putting fresh vanilla beans in each other's cocktails. Yesterday, I unconsciously pulled back from my friends' couple-y dynamic and had to admit, over a glass of Greek wine with two of them at Eos later that evening, that I supposed I was sad, okay maybe just a bit.

The people next to me in yoga Friday afternoon certainly knew. Somewhere in the middle of the long Surya namaskar sequence, it hit me that I would be driving him to the airport the next morning. A few dozen poses later, I discovered that it's hard to cry in Wheel -- you need to lift your head up from the full backbend in order to not choke. (Just in case you wanted to try it.) Of course, he was sitting on my stoop when I got home after class that afternoon, cheerily waiting for me; I pouted at the thought of his impending departure and he wrapped me up in a hug for as long as I wanted. Because he was here, in town, here.

It was perfect, really. Any shorter would have been too little, given what we were waiting for; any longer and I would have gotten enmeshed (and how). And so the medium was this: not enough, ultimately; but, for two weeks, a dose of exactly that. The only trick now will be to put my floaty head squarely back on my shoulders.

Mon, 11 Aug 2008 19:26:58 -0700

I had two choices Saturday afternoon: either to get my ass down to Daljeets, and buy the boots that I spent all last Burning Man wanting; or to sit at home (or in the sunny park, or drinking coffee at Ritual, or any of the endless list of things in San Francisco I'd rather focus on), freaking out about how I just don't think I'm cut out for this, how maybe I'm not really a Burner at heart, questioning the value of purchasing items of clothing I will (or could) ever only wear to costume-heavy events that I wouldn't even choose over the opportunity to kill a bottle of local zin with a friend (like GR, in town Wednesday) over a finocchio salad. I went up Haight and bought the boots, of course -- white, knee-high, faux-fur-trimmed, heeled, 3-inch platform leather lace-ups (I told you I can't exactly wear these to work, to say nothing of the opera!) -- and threw in some rainbow thigh-high stockings for good measure. Tried to quiet the voice in my head rattling off a list of the Things I Wanted Last Year That I Should Now Be Assembling for this: el-wire; a bottle of good Scotch; more scraps of colorful things to tie in my hair; a better bike seat.

What I really wanted last year, of course, and didn't get, was a less jarring experience. I was thrown for weeks after I came back: I marveled at the solidity of walls; I smiled ingenuously at strangers on the street; I reëxamined the adjectives "real" and "default" as applied to the noun "world," and the possessive pronoun "my." And as much as it's good to challenge one's perspective from time to time, I just can't afford -- emotionally, mentally -- a near-two-month recovery this time 'round.

I earnestly told Day all this when I ran into him, incongruously, in the sale section at Anthropologie on Saturday afternoon. Standing amidst the discounted, retro-chic housewares with his large-hole earrings and folding cruiser bike, he listened sympathetically with a knowing smile, having seen me buffeted at Sushi Love Cake by the playa winds last year -- a smile that said, loud and clear, good luck with that, girlfriend. Goddamn it, I know I can't plan things like this -- but, on the other hand, what was all this about "manifesting" one's reality? Cannot I envision for myself a camp of M.I.T. geeks who drink wine and play with power tools, a pair of white boots and streamers for my hair, and not set myself up for the old refrain of sharp ups and down?

A woman trying on my same size of boots at the store Saturday asked if I were buying mine for the playa (as if I could wear them anywhere else with a straight face). "I can't wait," she sighed; "Burning Man just recharges my batteries every year." Not mine, I think. I should, by rights, be ready for this one, looking forward to it unmitigatedly; rather, my brain's focus has almost shifted from positive obsession about this boy to crazy-obsession about this two-week-hence undertaking. Fuck, I can wait.

But perhaps it'll happen as I conceive of it: The crazy shit-kicking boots, my self-determined key to happiness this year, are now mine (hey, who needs a tent that may or may not have been unfolded in a year when you've got bad-ass kicks to help your goal of sartorial chameleon?!). And yesterday, long orange ribbons from a bouquet of flowers at Manisha & Danan's vegan dinner party came home with me, the better to tie into my filthy, playa-dusty hair at the end of August. If you're going to Black Rock Ciiiityyyy ...

Mon, 18 Aug 2008 18:57:02 -0700

What I like about weddings (especially those in places I'd want to travel to anyhow): Seeing friends, drinking wine at a tasting room right off of Pike Place Market in Seattle, strolling through the farmers' stalls, eating blueberries doused in a 12-year balsamic some guy was trying to sell us. Chuck's homebrew. Standing, in my new high sparkly heels that cast little disco-ball refractions on the deck, onboard a steamboat chugging its way through Lake Union, drinking soave (my new favorite type of white) and then champagne as the sun set gloriously to the west, putting a glow in Corey's blond ringlets. The look on your friend's face as he watches his bride come down the stairs from the upper deck of the boat on the arm of her father, a look so clearly suffused with emotion than you know his cheeks are going to hurt tomorrow. Running around the darkened streets near the dock with Marie after we disembarked, a heavy bouquet of flowers in my hand and a roll of gorilla tape over my arm (and it was then that I switched to sandals), trying to flag a cab persuadable enough to let us decorate it to take the newlyweds to the after-party. Snarfing bad Chinese food at 3 AM because somehow the dinner you had after the ceremony just isn't holding up under the combined assault of wine, champagne, and those gin-n-tonics at the bar. Ordering vegan room service the next morning, including a Sunday New York Times, because the fancy hotel at which you indulged yourself will happily do those sorts of things (including bringing you last-minute hairspray the night before); eating said breakfast while reading said paper, curled up on the squishy, pillowed window seat, wrapped in one of their robes, listening to KEXP on the radio. The amazing vegan sandwich and perfect, unbitter soy macchiato I found in Capitol Hill that afternoon.

What I don't like: The slow-dancing. There was only time for a few songs on the boat after the respective institutional and gustatory merriment, but you just can't dance to "My Girl" if you're a girl by yourself. Or the slower numbers: the ones that bring all the couples in the house (which comprised damn near everyone) onto the dance floor, the heads of the hers resting on the shoulders of the hims. You (okay: I) just have to sit that kind of song out, pasting on your (ahem: my) all-this-coupley-stuff-is-just-dandy-with-me-I-swear face. I had just decided to hit the bar and stare at the last striations of the sunset when the captain announced we were docking soon anyhow.

I told Bjarni about these exact scenarios (because this repeats at every damn wedding) when he was here recently; what I loved about our time, perhaps even more than the unprintables, was resting my head on his shoulder and joining the sea of couples twirling languorously around the Top Of The Mark. I handed my heart to him for temporary safekeeping, and as he held it, there on the dance floor, my ribs gratefully expanded and I could exhale as I normally never am able. I could have danced all night.

I ordered gin on the flight back down to SFO, the better to steel my plane-shy nerves with. As champagne dulls the perennial wedding heartache, so do overpriced airplane cocktails ease the scariness of admittedly-paltry turbulence. We all have our demons.

all this Šnori heikkinen, August 2008

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