Wednesday I decided to take a break from Petaluma, work, and obsessing about the writing I am supposed to be doing, to go to a show with my friend Rachel in Oakland.
I say “the writing I am supposed to be doing” because, duh, a lot hasn’t gotten done. I started to yell at myself and then realized exactly what this month has been, besides my participation in a novella writing challenge.
I threw out my back like the vieja that I am, got super sick, and had to find a place to live, while working my regular shifts. Jesus. Fuck.
I HAVE finally cracked an outline and worked in some other characters and stories I’ve had in mind/notebooks into this. It’s progress.
I left the house too early for the bus I was supposed to catch I and decided to run some errands and have breakfast downtown. I waited to cross at the light and a guy swaggered up to the opposite corner. He tapped the signal and it changed instantly. I love it when that happens. I paused to appreciate magic touch moments for someone else and patted myself on the back for it. Good job not being totally into yourself for a second.
Springtime in California is in full effect. The sun was shining but it isn’t hot enough to be running around shirtless. You’d be surprised at how few dudes that matters to. I cut through the parking lot of the shopping center where I work and see giant bubble letter graffiti blasted across the side of the discount grocery store. Seems that guy was awfully busy, because his tag is all over downtown. Most of them half finished and poorly executed. I wish they ‘d leave art on the sides of buildings and not just a crude hieroglyph that translates to “ I WAS HERE!”
On the waterfront a group of old folks held a water color class, propping their paintings against the railing and sitting in camping chairs, critiquing their shaky brush strokes.
I have this problem where I am always early and the bus is always late. This day was the exception. I took it as a good omen for the day. Doubly so, when Rachel told me she was bringing me cupcakes from the bakery where she works. Then a girl sat in front of me on the bus wearing patchouli. My bus ride was terrible for the three stops until she got off and left her wallet. I laughed. I felt bad and walked it to the driver just as her boyfriend came back to retrieve it.
The bus ride from Petaluma to San Francisco is made for window gazing and headphones, getting day-dreamy on the scenery and thanking Golden Gate Transit for their epically sized bus windows.The right playlist is everything. I like to leave it up to the shuffle feature. Fate. This day all the tracks fall in to the right places, happen at just the right time.
“When I accelerate I remember why it feels good to be alive” I close my eyes to soak in the moment of that song, as I always do. The bus hit a curve and the driver accelerated through it, I smiled and opened my eyes and was met with the view of the SF skyline from across the bay, making that moment magic. Felt suddenly like this could be my last bus trip to the city. I wanted to take a photo but elected to soak it in with my own two eyes. Make that picture with my mind to cherish later. Because I see why people leave their hearts here. It’s so fucking easy to do. So easy to fall in love with.
Once we’re into the city, around Van Ness, I notice the back passenger window of fancy sports car has dried vomit streaked down the side. I’ve definitely been that guy. I didn’t leave it to crust over.
I get off the bus at the Civic Center Bart station and some dude who was talking loudly on his cell phone about facebook for the duration of our ride yells after me and hands me my scarf without saying more than “Hey!” and continues to argue with who I can only assume is his angry girlfriend.
I hit the Civic Center station and update Ray while I wait for my train. I pop my gum and watch people form lines at the platform that won’t do them any good once the nine car stops. I board and everything is good until that panicky part if the the train ride when my ears start to pop and I know it’s because I’m under the bay. What if something goes wrong and we’re trapped? We’ll run out of air, have to eat each other for survival. Or the tunnel could collapse and we’d all just drown in this electrified metal tube.
People in Oakland don’t give a fuck. Dude in a motorized wheelchair almost sideswipes Ray’s car as we enter the Wholefoods parking lot.
In Piedmont we sat in a pub booth where dozens of couples carved their initials into the wood. Name + name and I wonder how many of them are still together. Ghosts of their relationship etched into the walls for drunks to admire.
We parked around the corner from the Fox. Rachel took everything in her car and moved it to the trunk. There was a dude in an huge ugly denim skirt and smeared eyeliner wobbling around in the doorway of a closed shop. He stops everyone who walks by and asks for change.
“Sorry, we don’t have any cash.”
“Can I get a cigarette?”
“We don’t smoke.”
He’s wasted and he walks over to us, telling us about how it’s hard for him to live in transitional housing and to deal with his parole officer because he is transgendered. He flails his arms and won’t make eye contact. Rachel offers him a cupcake.
“Does it have weed in it?” S/he asks excitedly.
“No, but it’s delicious.”
Crossing the street, Rachel sees a dude who looks like one of her favorite djs. I’m too distracted by a dude who is not wearing shoes but whose socks were incredibly white.
I counted four dudes with their hair in a top knot. Unacceptable.
The show opened with an aerobics routine led by DJ Rapid Fire, who was somehow even gayer than Richard Simmons. We were in love.
The Knife turned out not to be playing a regular show, but rather presenting “The Habitual Experience.” It read like The Knife does cirque du soleil. Which was cool, but not quiet what we were expecting. In place of Karin’s elaborate costumes, was a jumpsuit and a lot of choreography. A short set, followed by a dance party in the GA section.
In the line for the bathroom some hipster girl with a haircut like she stuck her head in a blender and wearing some kind of holster that held nothing at all asked me “It wasn’t like corporate when they started synchronized dancing?”
Instead of hitting her with a dictionary I told her it wasn’t what we expected but it was cool to look at. She was up for debate, but the line was moving and I was grateful.
We walked out to the street and it smelled like grilled onions. I found the street vendor and ate a bacon wrapped hot dog on our way back to Rachel’s car, realizing that throughout the course of my day I had probably eaten an entire pig.