I was reminded tonight that I have lived in San Francisco for three years. Years, it feels, that have escaped me as does a word on the tip of your tongue: you can vaguely describe the word, and you can remember how it feels to say the word, even some times that you have used the word, but the fuller meaning is lost until you recall the specific term and its context. It seems that it is easy to quantify a life (i.e. “I have been here three years”), but much harder to qualify it. How do you explain a year? How did you change in 2015? A full 365 days passed and how many do you remember? We tend to remember the sad moments and some of the happier ones, but the mundane living is lost to time.
Wake up in Napa. There is a cat on your lap. The cat purrs in time to the falling rain. Memories of the previous night leak slowly back in; wine in the afternoon, music at dusk, conversation all night. First an upscale party, later an artists’ commune. You arrived late and were greeted with hugs and hospitality. You kept your eyes open as long as possible and crashed after midnight. Slept through the night on a sofa fabricated in heaven. Woke to showers and a gray winter sky. Slipped out early to find food and drove lazily back to the city. Found more friends and spent another night drenched in laughter. Stories over burritos. Kept your face to the pavement, walking in the rain, bar to bar. Got home late and collapsed on your bed. You felt blessed in the purest of senses that humans are kind and for when friendship comes easy. Happiness, it is said, is best when shared.
Like right now. When you’re lying on a couch in Napa, an artists’ commune, at the end of a tiring night full of sweet wine and empty beer bottles. A day that included a drive north from the city. Making new friends and being pleasant with many more. Alcohol and weed and hours of talking make for imperfect writing conditions. But write out a few sentences until your eyes begin to roll back. The raindrops lull you off, or if they don’t then the frogs surely do. There will be more time to write tomorrow.
Heraclitus was a Greek scholar who lived and died in the years around 500 BCE. Core to his philosophy was the acknowledgement of continual change in the world. He is attributed to many wise aphorisms, several of which have become something like modern philosophic clichés such as “the only thing that is constant is change”. Personally, I prefer the slightly wordier version of this sentiment:
When I moved to San Francisco in 2012, I lived out my first six months in a quirky, sublet apartment in Western Addition (North of Panhandle, colloquially), near the intersection of Clayton and Hayes Street. I met my roommate, Jim, on Craigslist, and some weeks later we were moving into the top-floor unit of a yellow, two-story, Arts & Crafts inspired house. Kitchen, two bedrooms, split bathroom and shower. No living room. A kook of a landlord (but we’ll save that for another story).