I’ve been in San Francisco, on a little adventure of sorts, for about 10 days now. This is the longest span of time I’ve had off of work for the last fourteen years. While I like to consider myself an intelligent person, I am perplexed by composting. My normal daily coffee has to be segmented into several groups. The grinds go in the compost. The lid – I still have no idea. The cup… I think that can go in the paper recycling. It’s all very stressful and requires a second cup.
On my first day here, I walked for two hours, from Potrero Hill to Pac Heights. With each block, I felt very close and very far away from all that I have ever known. The architecture brought forth buildings no more than a few stories high, yet the vibe was reminiscent. It wasn’t until I found a Gap, that I breathed a sigh of relief and felt at home. Whew – no matter what happens, at least the Mothership is here.
But now I’m in full swing. Driving has changed it all – going to Whole Foods, using one of those cart thingamajigs and buying more than two days worth of groceries is nothing short of life-changing.
Despite feeling relaxed, my normal, everyday Manhattan stresses have unsurprisingly followed me across 3000 miles. But here I feel ready to solve them – instead of commuting, running to and fro, dodging nine million others doing the same, I just feel them. It’s hard because there are no NYC distractions – there’s no escape when your only major task is to make sure Katya gets to the dog park to sniff Elvis. But that is what makes this time important.
So instead of sitting in a cubicle, jotting down To Do lists, I sit on a bench in Golden Gate Park feeling my To Do list. Segmenting it, organizing it, and knowing it will get done to my best ability and when I get back to our abode in the 94107.
With a lack of television (how I went from working in cable to not having cable, I will never know) today I lived the 9th episode of Katya’s Dog Park Adventures. It was a beautiful Thursday morning, and I open the first act sitting on the park bench, reading my book in the blaring sun, hoping that the goosebumps that have lived under my cardigan sweater and fleece for the last week will be slightly tamed. Katya does what she does best (sniffing) and I am soon joined by a man who plans to eat his lunch and make conversation. Once the greetings are made, I dive my nose impolitely back into my book, but he ignores the gesture, beginning to tell me about his life owning a cab company and his world travels. “I love my life,” he said more than once. Within a few minutes, I bookmarked my chapter and listened to his stories of coming to SF in 1968 to protest the war, signing up for the Peace Corps, learning six languages, traveling around the world engaging in different dialects, and yes, how he loves his life.
In telling him my short explanation on how a young woman can sit in a dog park at 11am on a Thursday reading, he taught me much about San Francisco, and how it has changed, and how much more it will change in the near future. While Katya munched on the teriyaki-ed snow peas shared by our new friend, he told me “Don’t worry. Tomorrow, you’ll get a call for a job.”
I responded with a mixture of sarcasm and gratitude for the California positivity, saying, “Ed, I need those vibes, so keep ‘em coming.”
“Nah, tomorrow. Next time I’ll see ya, you’ll have a great story.”
Not five hours later, after working relentlessly on my laptop to ensure the marketing world did not forget my name, I got an email for a call tomorrow. At the place I want to work most in the world. Will it pan out? Ed didn’t tell me. He said I’d receive a call tomorrow – and I will. That’s the magic of a little dog park only three blocks away.