Wednesday, November 25, 2009


My first weekend getaway of my second round in San Francisco took place just a couple of weeks after my move back out here, because even though I'm living just enough for The City, I'm not just living for The City.  It was time to escape the congestion, and a silver friend of mine, with whom I crossed paths the week before, had invited me to visit his cabin in Arcata.  Once he mentioned the words "cabin," "redwoods," and "sangria," I was pretty well sold. 

One of my roommates and I made the five-hour trek late on Thursday and met "Yo-Heezy," the owner of the cabin, and another one of my roommates around 1:00 in the morning.  Much to their delight, I brought along some Black Box wine and Sarah Lee baked goods (not to be confused with Sara Lee baked goods), and we commenced our celebration of social solitude in the unkempt but cozy cabin. 

The rain and the cool air on the following day made it difficult to leave the comforts of the cabin, but I experienced a bit of the culture up North nonetheless.  Dinnertime snuck up on us, and me and the fellas made a hodgepodge of yams and ginger, guacamole, fajitas, and sangria that left us slightly comatose.  Ironically, in an effort to revitalize ourselves and mend some of our ailments, Yo-Heezy nearly broke his back while trying to crack mine (I suppose I ate a little too much guacamole), so he was bed-ridden for the rest of the night; the remaining three, however, managed to shake our comas and adventure through the duration of the night.

With the Lost Coast Brewery as our sponsor, we built a roaring fire of aging furniture and other odds and ends in a large and rusted barrel, which we called the Barrel of Monkeys.  We were impressed with ourselves since the conditions were rather wet - though the rain had finally subsided - but our biggest task was still ahead: making the unfunctional sauna functional without doing any rewiring.  And so we put a bunch of rocks in a metal pale and put the pale in the fire and then poured water over the hot rocks once inside the sauna.  We tried this a number of times over the course of a couple of hours, and strange as it was, the first attempt, with mediocre results, was the most successful.  Once this cat-and-mouse game lost its fun, we played in the shipwreck of redwood trunks and fifteen-foot stumps just beyond the cabin, and once that lost its fun (or did it?), we retired to the cabin and fell asleep, sometime between 8:00 and 9:00 in the morning. 

The next day of in-and-out of sleep, reflecting, and burnt bacon ended around midnight, when my roommate and I made it sleepily back to San Francisco, which was not so sleepy itself.  It was a lively Saturday night, but I went straight to bed, readying myself for my 7:15 barista shift the next morning.       

Saturday, November 7, 2009

A Righteous Return

This year has taken me far South, far North and back to the Heart of It All, but after all of life's twists and turns the road inevitably led West again.  The great bivalve mollusc that is the World swallowed me whole and spit me out in San Francisco - The City by The Bay, the "golden handcuff with the key thrown away," and "the most cordial and sociable city in the Union."

I resisted the City's lure for ten months and then finally gave in to its charms, packed my Honda with all of my things and hit the road.  How could I let a silly thing like not having much money or not having a job lined up prevent me from reigniting my love affair?  After all, hadn't I made it work the first time, when I was starting from scratch?

I immediately moved into an apartment in the Lower Haight with some friends of a friend - four guys, as it goes - who are, so far, quirky, bright and lovable.  That they keep a clean apartment with maps all over the walls is probably enough for me, but I can certainly appreciate the distinct personalities as well: the vegan, entrepreneurial sweetheart; the hippie with crystals in his dreadlocks who loves drawing brainstorming webs on his over-sized whiteboard; the excitable grad student; and the has-his-shit-together business professional who gets off on camping and literature.

The apartment was not the only thing that fell into place; a job did as well.  A mere three days into my SF renaissance, I was hired as a barista at Mojo Bicycle Shop & Cafe.  And so, as my dear friend Alice said, I was "back into the SF groove," and boy did it feel good.