intentionally blank

The worst part about having a journal is feeling compelled to write simply because I haven’t in a long time. I set aside today to catch up on a lot of things, including tandem, and now it’s nearly six in the evening with no end to the two entries I’ve already started in sight.

They both have really great titles, but I’m going to have to keep those for later entries, and just blather for a bit …

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Living outside the city and not wanting to commit ourselves to the hell that is parking, Chad and I spend a lot of time on public transit. More time, actually, in the past month and a half than I’ve spent in my entire life, and that includes my eight-year stint in Chicago. I’ve come to understand that not only do I not mind spending a few hours a day commuting: I depend on it.

There is something innately humbling about getting lost in San Francisco. I’ve actually remained panic-attack-free, even through running late, getting lost, and stumbling over the myriad rules and regulations of the different transit lines. This isn’t to say that I’ve avoided being terribly embarrassed about my directional shortcomings, not at all. But it puts my life right in perspective, it does.

A perspective I’ve sorely needed.

Today Chad and I were wandering around the Grape Festival County Fair and I murmured, “What a gorgeous day.” A few moments passed before I realized that I have said that almost every day since we’ve been here. A few more moments passed before I realized that certain other things have happened nearly every day since we moved to the Bay Area.

I’ve laughed. I’ve been in turns deeply thoughtful and deeply silly. I’ve been less upset and frustrated, fewer times. I’ve appreciated the people in my life more. I’ve spent a lot less time online, and made some enormous social leaps in the meatworld.

Enormous. We’re talking bridges over chasms, here.

Work has done wonders for my social life, as ironic as that may seem. All my coworkers are fun, fascinating, intelligent people, and we hang out together quite a bit. In addition to having fun with them, I’m meeting people outside of work, as well, like David and Mark.

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I was nervous and excited to attend a meeting of the SF Gamers, what I perceived to be Birmingham Boardgamers’ Left Coast counterpart. Chad and I mangled our timetable a bit, with the help of our Transit Newbie status, and arrived a few hours late to a coffeehouse in what I can only describe as “not one of San Francisco’s nicer neighborhoods.” I mustered up what was left of my patience and nerve and marched up to a table with four people sitting around it, immersed in a boardgame I didn’t recognize.

“Hi there. You must be part of the gamers,” I smiled cheerily. One man looked up and smiled back, then said, “Halsted!” It took me a second to realize that he must be the David person I’d been planning to go to the They Might Be Giants concert with; he said he might show up to the SF Gamers just to check them out, and possibly see me there.

We – that is, David, Chad and I, as we were studiously ignored by everyone else at the table and at the surrounding tables – exchanged a few pleasantries and then I stumbled off to find the bathroom. The top of my head was really warm, which is my version of an embarrassed flush, so I sat in the bathroom for a minute and pressed my palms on my forehead and skull. Like anyone can tell that my scalp is blushing. I suppose the embarrassment resulted from realizing that I had pinned too many hopes on the SF Gamers being as friendly to new people as the Birmingham Boardgamers is. I took my time, feeling a little sorry for myself (and making sure there were no boogers hanging off my nosering) before I went back out.

Chad and I sat down as close as we could to the other players, about twenty-five in all, which ended up being across the room since there were no free seats really near them. David finished his boardgame and joined us at the table, and the three of us chatted amiably for several minutes before determining that Chad and I had to leave to make the ferry back to Larkspur.

“But you’re welcome to come with us,” Chad offered, smiling at David. Who accepted.

On the way back to Larkspur, we played a boardgame called Spree, which involves moving around a shopping mall, buying things, taking the things back to your car, and doing it all over again, with a healthy dose of violence and screw-your-neighbor tactics thrown in for fun. We had a blast. The fun continued when we tried to order a pizza at 1 in the morning, and determined that, Friday night or no, no one in Larkspur orders out after midnight. If our neighborhood is any indication, no one stays up past midnight, so there’s no real reason to be ordering food, I guess.

David ended up crashing on our living room floor, and the next day Chad enlisted his help moving our garganto-TV before letting him catch the ferry back to the city. We talked – a lot – and I especially liked it when David asked questions, because he always pays attention to the answers. Later that night he wrote, “Isn’t it wonderful to find someone that you just ‘click’ with?” It is wonderful, and I’m learning to appreciate it right when it happens.

This past Wednesday, David and I went to the They Might Be Giants concert and I appreciated it the entire time, especially when we were bouncing around, yelping out all the lyrics to all the songs.

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Mark is a sniper-conversationalist. He invited me to Scoma’s for lunch, which is in Sausalito, one of the cutest towns I’ve ever visited. We sat outside – in Scoma-speak, that’s nearly on the water, since the restaurant itself is built onto an old pier – and when I started talking, I forgot to stop. Mark drew me out, adding his own verbal nods and snippets, and I didn’t substantially shut up and let him lead until we were inside and having a wonderful meal. (Again, saying “the food is wonderful” is a lot like saying “it’s a gorgeous day” in San Francisco: they’re universal constants.) I had to leave early because of a meeting in the city, but not before the bank declined my debit card, TWICE: another series of scalp-blushes for me. It could have been worse; I could have not known about the problems my bank has been having with point-of-sale transactions, and really thought I had Done Something Wrong with my checking account.

At any rate, it wasn’t enough to spoil the afternoon, capped by the satisfaction of finally meeting Mark, who is in person every bit as charming as he is via email and ICQ, and who brought me terrific presents – mocha java and Dr. Weirde’s Weirde Tours: A Guide to Mysterious San Francisco – besides.

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Every once in a while, like tonight, I get a little full with social contact and need some time to spread out and be alone. Being alone is something I’m really good at, but I still need practice from time to time. I’ve been getting much better at liking myself while I’m around other people, but have remained at the same level of liking myself while I’m alone. So tonight, Chad is in the city with friends, and I am here with the napping cat, as another gorgeous day fades into another gorgeous evening. And while I wasn’t even looking, I finished one of my Saturday projects, too.


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I acknowledge that I live and work on stolen Cowlitz, Clackamas, Atfalati, and Kalapuya land.
I give respect and reverence to those who came before me.