Thursday, June 07, 2007

a hypothetical destination

Hmmm. Perhaps EBF has changed. Or something. I thought the buzz or high or halo of Spain would last for a long time after my return stateside, but instead I was kvetching about life in EBF within two days of getting back. And yet, Spain is still on my mind. Someone will ask me a question about it, and I immediately get speechless and sigh. Or I launch into a lecture about food in Spain. I didn't realize how obsessed I got with Spanish eating patterns, but I've found myself talking about it with tiresome specificity. I don't think it's really about the eating so much as what the eating says about the culture. It might have, of course, just been because I was on vacation, but eating was such a form of relaxation in Spain. And I don't mean the way eating a good piece of chocolate soothes a craving. I don't even know what I mean.

Anyway, the other thing that has suddenly become clear about Spain, something which I miss in periodic bursts, is how much everyone walks everywhere. Yes, the Metro is fab and all, but really, I spent a lot of time, every place I went, walking. I must have walked an average of five hours a day, at a minimum. And probably anyone who lives in New York is currently sniffing, "BFD." But that's exactly my point. I'm not in New York, I'm in podunkville. Nothing is in walking distance. My cousin, who lives less than 0.25 miles away, still bemoans that she cannot visit because she "doesn't have a car." I find it jarring. Spain heightened the feeling, but it was obviously not just Spain. Whenever possible in San Francisco, I walked to places.

And so the restlessness seized me and, as if I was sleepwalking, I just left the house and did not come back for two hours. I walked and walked, and never really got anywhere, but kept walking. That's what walking is in EBF, unproductive, simply a pasttime. It's not as satisfying as walking in cities, where you have a purpose, and you have a bag of groceries in your arms to prove it. But it's still better than driving around town, wasting precious gas.

As I was walking around, I realized that I used to do this even as an adolescent. Once I went for a walk after a heated argument with my father, and my mother ran after me because she thought I was running away from home. But I was always just taking off for these walks, these singular, undisturbed strolls.

So I was surprised that someone driving by today honked their horn, rolled down their window, and whistled at me. This grew more hilarious and surreal when I stopped to see that the someone was driving a minivan. A minivan, y'all. I'm guessing it was either some 17-year old punk or some totally sleazy, creepster father of four. Either way, it was something that had never happened to me in EBF before.

And then it happened again a few blocks from my house, this time with some punk in a crappy old sportscar. EBF, quite confounding.

In other news, I love how I was supposed to be catching up with old friends in this time and instead my family has sucked me into a black hole of visitations. Yet another cousin is flying into town tomorrow night. And while I would like to complain about that, he's such a little sweetheart that it's impossible to be at all peeved. When a dude says, "I'm only coming to visit because I want to see you and hear all about your trip and really hang out with you," it is hard not to melt into a little puddle of goo. Of course, when that same dude also adds, "Plus now I'm 21 so you totally don't have to hold back anymore, how awesome is that?" it is hard not to have a panic attack about the expectations for putting the party hat on this weekend. I don't know how I feel about having a beer with someone whose diapers I used to change, but just typing that sentence squicked me out a bit.

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