Sunday, August 28, 2005

I am a tourist

So after sitting around for a week, I actually got off my ass and went out of the house to see people this weekend. At one point, I was hanging out at a friend's house and saw a tourist guide to San Francisco. It turned out that my friend's boyfriend had been using it this past month to explore the city. He grew up in Santa Cruz and moved to the city a year ago to live with her. I realized, once again, that I was also pretty much a tourist in this town, since I've never lived here as an adult. I grew up here, but moved away when I was eighteen, so I really only have a kid's view of the city. So I've decided to write this blog entry with a tourist slant.

On Friday night, I hung out with a friend I'd known since we were eleven. The choices of hang-out venue were either Pinoy Pop (a music night organized by and for Philipino kids and featuring local bands) or to go out for a drink. Since it was late and I am old, I decided I didn't want to go somewhere to get tinnitus with a bunch of people 10 years younger than me, so we went to Rohan (on Geary and 2nd) for their fabulous soju-based foofy cocktails and their little plates of yummy nibbles. The drinks and food were great as usual, but for some reason the DJ insisted on playing her music so loud we had to shout to hear each other. After a couple drinks, our throats were getting sore, so we went home. (So much for trying to avoid tinnitus; and the group of guys sitting next to us may have been about our age, but they were acting ten years younger.)

Yesterday I met up with this friend, her boyfriend (whom I adore, but not in that way) and another friend I'd known since I was 14 for lunch at El Toreador (in West Portal). Mexcian food is one of the things I have never managed to get in Dublin, so I was happy. Plus, I'd never been to this restaurant and it was supposed to be good. They had awesome fish tacos, and the spinach enchiladas were great as well. They give you a whole carafe of their surprisingly spicy salsa when you sit down.

After lunch, and with the boyfriend safely sent off home, we went down to Good Vibrations (on Valencia and 17th) to play with the vibrators. I tried to think which one would be the least embarrassing were it to be pulled out of my bag at an airport security checkpoint. After a few minutes of this, we decided maybe ice cream would be a good way to cool down. We drove to Pollyann's (on Ortega and 30th? Somewhere around there, anyway), which has been there since I was in middle school. But they've expanded into the spaces next to them and is now huge and shiny instead of tiny and crowded like I remember. They've got more flavors than any decent person could want, and if you can't decide, they have a huge wheel-of-fortune type wheel that you can spin and choose for you. I got a cone of the Jamocha fudge almond, which was good, but not nearly as awesome as my friend's jasmine tea flavor. It tasted like what you'd expect jasmine flowers to taste like and I totally regretted my choice.

We then went back to my friend's place in the Sunset and just hung around for a few hours, watching TV and listening to a new song she'd written. We talked about our upcoming high school reunion, which is a pot-luck barbecue held in San Mateo, for Pete's sake. We read through the e-vite responses and looked at the invitation list to see if we even remember anyone, let along cared enough to actually go and see how they've changed. It turns out, not surprisingly, that I don't remember any of them.

When we got hungry, we went to to King of Thai nearby (on Noriega? possibly?) where we all ordered huge bowls of noodle soup. Mine was seafood in a red bean-based soup stock, and was good, but kinda salty. After stuffing ourselves, we left to go to a bar that a friend of theirs was holding his birthday party in. It turned out the bar was Lone Palm (on Guerrero and 22nd, sorta Castro/Mission area), which I'd actually been to before, a couple of years ago. We arrived a little before 10 and managed to find a table, but the place filled up quickly, and soon was packed. My dirty martini was too dirty, but my friend's apple martini was just perfectly apple-y. The birthday boy bought us all shots of Patron and we managed a toast before the place got so crowded we couldn't see the different sub-factions of the birthday party anymore. It was a good crowd- people our age mostly, but not painfully hip or styly. Everyone was friendly and in good spirits. However, once again, our age caught up with us, and we left shortly after midnight.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Making drama

The absolute best moment at the wedding was when the photographer walked up to a knot of us bridesmaids and asked, innocently, "Do any of you bridesmaids have significant others?" A loaded question at any gathering, as any female of marriageable age with aunts knows. At this gathering, it was even more loaded, as each bridesmaid was in her own personal relationship purgatory. Anyway, the poor hapless photographer's question was met with, like, 20 seconds of the densest silence ever. We just sort of made quiet “Uhhhhh” noises as we tried to figure out what to say. My brain went through all the possible answers: “Yes” was untrue; “No” was also strictly untrue; “Maybe” was not really an answer; “Er…it’s complicated” would have been the best answer, but that seemed like it would require further explanation, which we did not feel like giving. After a couple of awkward exchanges, the photographer slunk away to people with slightly less complicated love lives.

We laughed and laughed and laughed. It was awesome. It was so awesome, we were unable to stop laughing for a while. But maybe you had to be there.

Anyway, all this made me feel like maybe I didn’t have enough drama in my life, ‘cause it seems like it could be fun. I generally try to live without too much drama; I always thought that most people make their own lives difficult, when they could just let most things go and live more peacefully. But recently, I’ve been thinking- why the hell not stir up some shit? Why try to glide through life without making any waves? It’s just another way of making yourself invisible and lessening the influence of yourself on the world, isn’t it? But then I thought, Dang, that seems like it would take a lot more energy than sitting around and reading the newspaper.

Reading: Just finished Jon Stewart's Naked Pictures of Famous People. Man, I love Jon Stewart. Why don't they export The Daily Show to Ireland?

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

West Coast Tour

As many of you know, I’m back in the land of the free and the home of the brave for a few weeks. I flew into Seattle, where I was met by wonderful friends who whisked me straight to sushi. (That’s how you know they’re good friends.) This first evening turned out to be indicative of the rest of my visit, which was filled with friends and food. I confess there was also a certain amount of shoe-shopping.

After a few short days, I took the train down to Portland. My time in Portland was spent doing wedding prep-type activities and, uh, also shoe-shopping. Hey! I needed shoes for the bridesmaid’s dress! The shopping was successful: I and another bridesmaid ended up with the most fabulous bronze heels. Later, when I saw the uneven lawn the wedding party was to walk on, I nearly regretted the choice of 4-inch heels, but it was impossible not to buy them- they were fabulous. The wedding went off without a hitch. My ankles, as well as all entering couples, emerged intact. The ceremony was short, the alcohol abundant, the bride and groom waaay too cute.

I had a lot of time to hang around with my girl friends in both Seattle and Portland, and it made me sad, because I have no such friends in Dublin. I mean, it’s not like I need people around to discuss big important feminist issues or whatever, I just want people around to drink wine and try on dresses and giggle with. Of course, these are people I’ve known for 5 years or more, so that may have more to do with it than gender. It’s easier to be yourself around old friends. However, I'm now back in San Francisco, and I have yet to see any of my high school friends here. I sat around for two days before I even started calling any of them. What does that say?

Reading: Island of the Sequined Love Nun by Christopher Moore. Hilarious. It's a send-up of religion. With a talking fruit bat. Beat that.