a week in the time warp

2022-04-23  egg

- No matter how sunny it is and what the weather app says (perennially 50 degrees), SF always feels chillier than I expect. Juhi asks how I can be cold when I'm coming from New York, and I don't have a satisfying answer. Olive once said that it's the mental expectation of being warm that makes you all the colder, and I sort of buy it, but I think I should just be able to feel warm anyway. - Ori and I walk to Catherine's apartment on Sunday morning. We talk about SF and how empty it is, maybe the emptiness is exacerbated by the area we're in but it's a stark contrast to where we each respectively live. People were out and about tonight, the pre-summer crowds milling around in anticipation. At an intersection on 7th Ave a trio of girls were wearing the same outfit; in general many of the women I saw when walking home from the 8th Ave L stop were wearing variations of the same three fits like so many ducks in a row. Sometimes when I say these things I feel like I'm being sexist and unfair, it's not our fault that marketing has such a grip on us. Earlier in the evening I accidentally interrupted a hug that Mark Ronson was about to give his sister outside Bar Pitti, realizing who they were only as they each stepped back at my intrusion. After three years of living in this city I've finally started seeing famous people who aren't Supreme skateboarders. - Ori and I decide that SF rewards spontaneity in nonmaterial ways, such as the wealth of unstructured time you end up spending with your friends. - The visits where I stay with friends in SF make me feel as if I'm in an alternate timeline where I live there. The constellation of memories I have all over the city breed just enough familiarity to give me a sense of direction and enable slipping into the idea that I *have* lived there. Everything greets me with an unexpected intimacy that has no basis in anything except feeling; at brunch Zach asks me when I'm moving to the Bay Area and I'm touched, I forget that Zach and I haven't actually talked enough to warrant the kinship I feel with him whenever I'm in SF. It feels real, part of the parallel life I inhabit whenever I'm back. Zach has daisies threaded into the eyeholes of his boots. The sun beams down on us at Alamo Square Park, which looks decidedly like it's occupied by people in the same tech-/tech-adjacent monoculture. I'd like to think our group looked the most alt out of everybody there, but I doubt anybody would have been able to tell us apart. - I grow partial to my pastel rainbow chunky sandals. Noah and Zach each compliment them. - Running bit: "What makes a house a home?" - Catherine: "Every time I see you guys you're playing another round of Botticelli." - After Marc tells us two jokes that I later discover were ripped completely from Norm Macdonald, even the embellishments that Marc said he'd made up himself, we get into a discussion of the first joke about the Sumerian dog. I insist I've heard of it even though I can't remember the punch line because I'd just read about it on depthsofwikipedia, but he acts as if I'm making up my knowledge. We agree it'd be funny if people started going around graffiti-ing obscure punchlines. "The light was on." - In his car Jon tells Juhi and I about the time he and his friend Finn were driving through "Infinite Pennsylvania" to get to NY. He said there was a moment where things clicked and it started to feel like they were on the East Coast, as the Big Thief song in the background played, "Drive into New York with me." - A sober Jon waves goodbye at a stoned crowd watching Elite on Noah's couch. He stares and gestures for ten seconds and flashes a thumbs up. As he leaves the room, Catherine whispers, "Was it just me, or was that an intense goodbye?" - "Ok, Lady Macbeth," Michael heckles one of the characters on Elite. - "Synthetic dingo," Ori and I chime together during a round of Contact. - Jon drives us to the beach. I haven't seen the ocean in so long, but it's too cold to hop over the railing and go closer to the waves. The vigorous breeze makes me feel alive, my lungs fill with the cleanest air I've breathed in ages, refreshing like when you drink a glass of ice water and you can taste the nothingness of the ice. - Juhi puts on Animal Collective when we get home from Berkeley. I listen to Bluish anew--"I like the way you squeeze my hand." - Most days we don't eat til past noon. I make my way through a bag of Taki's. Ori asks me if I've heard the story of Hanukkah. "I feel like you've been eating them slowly but steadily everyday." I finish the bag two days after he leaves. Our Safeway shopping trip is comical: packets of Jello, a dog food-sized bag of Cinnamon Toast Crunch, a gallon of Xtra Cheddar goldfish, a sack of green seedless grapes. The cashier asks if we need them bagged and I hesitate before saying yes. "I would have loved to see you guys try to carry all of this by yourselves," he drawls. - Jeffrey accidentally makes the coffee extra strong using the Chemex. Congested and dissociated, I feel like vomiting after four sips. - Juliette, Ariel, Jerry, Steph, and I sit on the bed downstairs in lieu of participating in the party. Juhi calls us out for being cliquey. - A friend gropes my ass while drunk. His general behavior has been rubbing me the wrong way for a couple months, and I now feel justified. Over the next couple days my anger at his other (more innocuous) antics builds to the point where I express my frustrations to others in the form of a deeper character analysis, which I haven't done in years. I feel like in college it was common to get annoyed with someone in the way where you see the things that irritate you as being representative/symptomatic of certain fundamental traits. Like in the Proust quote: "the most trivial attributes of other people seem to us to form an inseparable part of their personality." - Half-asleep, hair still wet from my shower, and unable to see because my contacts are out, I play Botticelli with Ori and the group playing Dominion, which includes Juhi's date from earlier that night. "We are so understimulated," Juhi jokes. - Ori and I run into Noah at the corner store near Catherine's apartment while discussing the pros and cons of Murakami. - We take the long way back to Juhi's, past the remains of a eucalyptus forest. What I miss the most about the Bay Area: how plant life perfumes the air. It reminds me of when I used to take walks with my parents after dinner when we were living in Fremont for elementary school, the rosemary bushes on the side of the pavement and Southern Magnolia trees in people's front yards and gingko berries crushed against the ground. Whenever I go home and witness the sheer variety of plant life I feel anxiety and loss, all the flora I took for granted that are slowly disappearing from my memory that I will never be able to name, only recognize upon chance sighting. All the dead trees that made way for NYC... I remember when at Alexa and Cora's party in the fall Robby mentioned that the trees in Fort Greene were probably hundreds of years old, and it makes me extra depressed now whenever I think of a tree in the city being cut down. It also makes me spiteful and disgusted at the sub-10 y/o trees that grow on the Manhattan sidewalk--not their fault, but they're such a joke of a consolation prize on the city's part. Jon plays Father John Misty, and "Nancy From Now On" reappears in my life as they eat ice cream in the front seat.