Tuesday, May 30, 2006

hiding out in the big city blinking

Things that rather rocked about the wedding I attended this past weekend:
  • Do not underestimate how nice it is to see a woman you have always genuinely liked find happiness. B had the typical serenely happy glow of a bride. I do not mean that in a bad way.

  • An old acquaintance, D, was in attendance at both the rehearsal dinner and the wedding. Do not ask me how I finagled an invite to the rehearsal dinner; I think B gave me a sympathy invite because I had traveled from SF, and I, of course, took advantage of it. D is the kind of guy who is my kind of conversationalist. He can follow the frenetic, disorganized path of my logic, and even light it up by burning a path of brilliance on his own. And if that is too cerebral for you, he rolled up his suit pants to his knees at the wedding the next day while dancing to You Shook Me All Night Long.

  • B reads this blog perhaps a little too steadfastly. Based on all my whining and proclamations about being a liquor snob, B reserved a bottle of Grey Goose especially for me at the reception. Dudes!?! At first, I did not know whether to be touched or concerned that she thinks I am an alcoholic. Then, I decided to be touched. And to drink as many vodka tonics as possible.

  • Another old acquaintance Y was in attendance with his partner, M. I had never met M before, and he was my new favorite person within five minutes of meeting him. He also sensed my intoxication and thus coaxed me into requesting the DJ to play Christina Aguilera's Dirty. I am still convinced he did not want to hear the song as much as he wanted to watch the DJ's reaction to me requesting it.

As much as I enjoyed B's wedding, going back to that part of the country comes with an inevitable heaviness. It may have had as much to do with taking a red-eye flight and the characteristic humidity this time of year, but something inside of me felt like it was sinking immediately.

It is strange to feel such an acute familiarity to a place you never felt you belonged. The same feeling comes over me whenever I visit my parents. The roads, the smells, the trees, all of it overflows with something that is not nostalgia. There are not memories or ghosts whispering to me on these highways, shopping centers, quaint main streets. But it's more a state of being that comes back to me. I revert to old habits. I drive in the wrong direction for five miles just because, just in the hopes that something interesting might be around the corner. The trees feel shorter, everything is on a less grand scale there. And yet, that smallness makes everything feel more real.

I have been wondering whether I sleepwalked through my life until I moved to San Francisco, or if it is the other way around. Maybe San Francisco has sprinkled magic dust on me, and I have fallen under its spell. I go back to those familiar roads, and everything feels hopeless again in some ways. But it's an odd hopelessness. It's a hopelessness that is not necessarily sad. It is a gritty hopelessness that says: What makes you think you're so special? Look around you- this is living. I can hear it in the tone of my old friends there, when I unwisely reveal my aspirations.

When I am defeated, when everything falls apart, I feel this certainty that I will return there and live out the rest of my years. On a tree-lined road, in a small house of my own. I will tend to gardens, and bake pies. And on certain days, I will drive for miles out of my way without knowing why.

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