I left my heart in San Francisco/High on a hill, it calls to me.
Three weeks ago, I bought a plane ticket to San Francisco. It was a spontaneous, spur of the moment trip – E and I had been talking (after a long time of not talking) and the end result was that on Monday, I hopped on a plane and headed home for a few days. It was a short visit and I spent half of it being travel-crazy (I don’t know if I’ve always been semi-nuts when I travel, but within the last few years, I’ve noticed that my vata goes way out of whack for the first few days of a trip. I feel like it was worse than normal this time – E called me out for obsessively repeating myself and jumping from unrelated topic to unrelated topic. I was aware that I was doing this, but I just couldn’t stop myself. Of course, this could have been the coffee I had on Tuesday and Wednesday. It took me until Thursday to finally mellow out). But, despite the vata derangement and the short stay, I found myself more joyful than I am in Connecticut. It’s not that I’m unhappy at school – I like the program and I would choose it again. I think my classmates are intelligent and awesome and I have found good friends. While the novelty of New Haven is starting to wear off, I still find myself inspired by the beauty of New England in general (I mean, does anyone ever really get tired of Yale’s gothic architecture, colonial-style houses or the picturesque countryside?).
But, it’s just not the same. Something inside me comes alive when I’m in California, and even more so when I’m in San Francisco. I feel like everything is easier, not just because of familiarity, but because of some magical quality that I share with that particular place in the world. My intuition is better, my insight clearer. Things seem to fall into place more easily and every moment feels synchronous. At the risk of sounding melodramatic, I feel on the verge of tears every time I fly into the Bay Area. To me, there’s nothing more lovely than seeing the Bay from the sky. This trip, I came in at night and even in the darkness, I was able to pick out the Dumbarton Bridge, then the San Mateo, the string of lights connecting them I knew was 101. And then there was the still blackness of the Bay herself, who, with enough imagination, looks like a mermaid perched on the bow of a ship. I never get tired of looking at maps of the Bay Area, the same way I never get tired of looking at ocean exhibits and aquariums. I love finding the familiar landmarks, and tracing my finger over well-known routes. When I see them in real time, the way I do from the sky, my breath catches, my heart fills, and I am Home.
I had a moment in the car as E and I returned from hiking around Mt. Tam. The weather was perfect, the hike had been gorgeous and I was about to lose my shit.
“This is so infuriating!” I exclaimed. E asked me to explain and I responded by recounting our weekend together. We went to Outerlands for lunch on Wednesday and then walked back through Golden Gate Park, stopping at the Columbarium on our way home. We rested a bit and then had dinner with friends at Nojo. On Thursday, we got lunch in Stinson Beach and spent a glorious day in nature at the beach and on Mt. Tam. Later that evening, we planned to get dinner with some other friends at State Bird Provisions, a new restaurant that E’s friend recently opened. “It’s just, this is what we always do! We eat delicious food, we do something vaguely cultural in the City, we go for long walks in nature and hang out with our friends every weekend.” I complained.
“And…?” E prompted, somewhere between bemused and nervous.
“And it’s fucking amazing!” I fumed.
I sometimes wonder if I would feel this way about the Bay Area if it weren’t for the people who live there. That same full-to-bursting sensation I feel when flying over the Bay is present in the tenderness I feel when I hear my parents’ voices calling out a hello from up the stairs as I walk through their front door, the quiet pause as I take in Lindsay’s new hair or look, the pressure of E’s lips on my forehead as he leaves for work in the morning. I know that I am spoiled to have most of my family, my best friend and my… “whatever-he-is” (i.e. E) all in the same place. Not to mention the majority of my dearest friends and Teachers. (I keep waiting for conservative legislation to force Kat and Juan out of Arizona, but at this point, I may have to resort to kidnapping.) I have noticed that it has become harder and harder for me to leave the Bay, and more and more poignant for me to come Home. Sometimes I think it’s a function of getting older, a desire to settle down. Truthfully though, I think it’s more a transference, an overflow, of the fondness I feel for the people living in the Bay. The more connections I make, the deeper my love for them, the more abundant my affection becomes.
Note: For a few minutes while writing this, a kid was throwing a tantrum in my parking lot, crying that she wanted to go home. So much for a lack of synchronicity in New Haven.