Walk: AMC Kubiki (Knives Out)
Distance: 2 miles, yoga stretch
Yippee a Traffic Jam! Throngs of families and dogs in town for the Union Square Tree Lighting Ceremony, Terrific! Broken elevators, non-working stoplights, fire trucks, Bring It On!!
This is how Ciwt was feeling when she needed to go downtown immediately after getting off the plane from Palm Springs. Her attitude was a bit startling because encounters like those above usually trigger thoughts of moving to some sort of bucolic place, if one still exists. Well, it does - in the desert, an hour south by Alaska Airlines and oh boy, does Ciwt find it dull apparently.
After years and years (read decades and decades) of training, turns out Ciwt resonates more deeply to chaos, challenge, a vast variety of people all making their own ways on the planet than to the calm beauty of swaying palm trees, green golf courses and agreeably similar people congregating at their country club homes. Barely making it through the Broadway mobs in New York with eyes glued to her friend leading her into the underground maze that is the subway system is now Ciwt's preferred lifestyle. This from a girl who grew up in the midst of those golf courses and well-heeled, like minded people - and loved it.
The change in values or what interests her (or something) was barely perceptible. And the fact that now the shift is quite pronounced wasn't something she noticed until just this Friday when she made - and Relished - that impossible trip downtown. Her best guess is it began in earnest when she felt done with and decided to leave the totally innocent, gorgeous, utterly protected Sun Valley. There her biggest decisions were what blue jeans to wear all day, which wax to use for the snow that day, what runs to take when she took the private bus over to the ski hill. That was pretty much it, and it worked for her like a charm for 4.5 out of 5 years.
Then, one day (literally), it was completely over. All the high fives, 'how ya hittin them's,' waves of bliss as she took in the perfectly clear air, gazed at the majestic (and protective) peaks, marvelled at her luck to be able to live in the sports and beauty wonderland of the world. It was all gone; overnight it was just 'meh.' This was unexpected, utterly unsettling and scary actually.
For six months she tried to the very best of her ability to fall in love with place again. But the spell - the drug or something - that was bucolic wilderness had worn off. For lack of anything else to do and with no particular goal except just leaving her now ex love, she came to San Francisco. The thought was maybe she'd 'find herself' and locate that next bucolic place. Perhaps Paris, she'd heard Paris was nice, and people loved European skiing. So, she sort of stumbled into buying her small home for relative peanuts (but a stretch her) and figured it would be fine for the two years or so until she figured out her next move.
Come this January, that will have been 40 years ago. She is still in the 'temporary' home and would probably stand at the door with a shotgun if anyone forced her to move. Every inch of it is her history. Every inch a memory, a decision, visiting friends, pairs of cats that became one cat, then none, then another pair.
Staying has NOT been easy. San Francisco's growing pains over the many years have been those of Ciwt and all who have stayed - or just arrived for that matter. The Bay Area has it all for us, but it is NOT an easy place to live. (It was once). Ciwt - and all of us probably - fought all the changes we encounter(ed) on a daily basis, but at some point they became the very fabric of our lives. Wrestling with homeless, housing, traffic, income disparity and other exceedingly challenging issues is just who we are now. Or who Ciwt is as she finally learned after returning from her bucolic weekend in the desert.
And on last Friday afternoon, Ciwt actually said "Okay, Bring It On!" (sort of)