San Francisco, CA
It's been a strange adjustment period.
I have yet to fit into a perfect groove with San Francisco because whenever I develop any semblance of a routine, I'm out the door and on the road for a few days or week or more before I finally stumble back into the Bay Area, and dump my dirty clothes onto the hardwood floor and try to make sense of my life that's in flux.
Since Nicky and I bailed out of Las Vegas at the end of July, we must have spent at least three or four segments in San Francisco for three or more days. It's hard to dig down and develop roots when you're constantly on the move... LA, Seattle, The Gorge, Tahoe, Chicago, and Denver.
I have yet to sit still in San Francisco for a week or more, but I expect that will change shortly. I really thought the bulk of summer traveling was complete but I have one last encore Phish performance to attend in Vermont. But once I'm back from that quick sojourn back East, I should be staying in San Francisco for at least a month, maybe more.
I crave the routine because I'm in the middle of a freelance project and ready to put in long hours writing for myself again. I miss the daily grind of writing in LA. In fact one of the things I actually loved about LA was the ability to close the door to my office or sit at Nicky's grandmother's dining room table and delve into a daily writing schedule for the chance to have two different writing sessions -- early morning or late night -- and depending on which way the wind blew. Well, more specifically, depending on the insomnia, because I always found a groove to write in LA no matter what time of the day. But outside of writing, LA was a tough place for a social life...everyone is so spread out and the average person is someone I have very little to nothing in common with.
At least in San Francisco, I'm usually the least weirdest guy walking down the street. I don't mind being a freak. I'd have it no other way, but sometimes it feels good to just be able to blend into the crowd. In a city of freaks, I'm almost invisible.
Developing a writing routine is going to be a little rough when I'm constantly on the move, so the next few weeks will finally give me that chance to find out when/where I like to write. The back room in Halli's apartment doubles as her office and it's also where we play poker on Monday nights. She rarely uses her desk, so she happily allowed me to set up shop and I have a pair of laptops sucking up power at all hours. Since both her and Nicky wake up super late, I have the entire back of the apartment to myself in the mornings. I can crank up tunes and no one can hear me in the front of the apartment, so it's the perfect spot for me to work.
I've had a couple of random afternoons when I got completely faded and wandered around the city listening to my iPod and soaking up everything around me from street corners, to random stores, and lots of people watching. I can expect more faded wanderings in the upcoming weeks... whether it's hoping on a bus and going to it's last stop and then finding my way back to the apartment, or walking around the neighborhood in random directions, criss-crossing different streets and checking out what's in a ten to fifteen block radius of our apartment. One of my favorite things to do when I visit a new city is to memorize the map, then get totally lost and try to find my way back. That's when you really get a vibe of a city by wandering down streets off the beaten path that are filled with locals and away from gaudy tour buses.
I haven't been brave enough to tackle the monstrous hills to the top of Pacific Heights. Some mornings I can feel the stiffness in my bum hip so I stay to flatter streets. That steep climb will eventually become a morning routine, but only a few brave souls ever dare doing that arduous journey up to the crest of one of the highest points of the city. The view is worth the physical exertion.
In the meantime, I had a wild few days sports betting again with the onset of the NFL season. Halli and Nicky have been more than accommodating but I have a feeling that turning the apartment into a full-blown sportsbook by week 7 of the NFL season is going to wear thin on them. Time will tell. Until then, action is action.