This was a tough post to write because it took me a bit to realize what I’d actually call it.
I’ve been on a rollercoaster so far here in San Francisco, a sensory overload, all of my experiences coming one after the other like waves. At first I rode them smoothly, jumping from one event to the next. There’s so much to do here in the Bay Area, so many trails, bars, restaurants, parks, people, places, things, to see, meet, hear, smell, taste, touch, talk to. I just rode the waves, went with the flow.
But the waves didn’t stop. That’s the catch with The City: there’s so much to do here, you can easily over-commit. And those waves I used to ride smoothly began to toss me around like a little kid on a boogie board. I began to feel overwhelmed, not only when I was busy as hell, but also when I finally had downtime. Why am I inside? Why am I still? Am I missing out on an adventure right now?
My dad put it pretty well, as parents tend to with their custom psychoanalyses, when he pointed out that I go through these boom and bust cycles. I jump in head first into the deep end, no reservations, overload my plate. Running then biking then skydiving then swimming then parasailing, all before noon? Count me in! But much like my younger self who would run around on a sweaty sugar high before promptly passing out, drooling all over my parents’ nice camelhair chair, I want opportunities to decompress. A week of drooling on the camelhair couch, of just taking it easy and getting my thoughts in order, was needed in my new city. So I took it.
Thing is, I took it at one of the worst possible weeks, right before Memorial Day Weekend.
That’s when the homesoreness kicked in.
When a muscle is sore, it isn’t sick. It’s been overworked the day, week, month before, over-trained, pushed to its limits without damage, and is learning to cope with a new routine. The increased exercise built it up, improved it, but also stripped away some of the old cells. After a strenuous work out, after truly pushing itself, the muscle needs a break. It needs to recoup, lay about and think about what it used to be. Also, don’t quote the guy with the scarecrow body on how muscles work.
I avoided resting up until this point. SF kept me so busy I didn’t have too much time to be introspective outside the occasional entry in my journal. It was when I began thinking about the upcoming weekend, how much I was going to miss being in upstate PA for the weekend, that I realized I did miss home a bit. I missed relaxing in the hammock at my family’s mountain house, of jumping into the ice cold pond, drinking out of the kegerator before heading down to the bonfire. These thoughts snowballed into thinking about my close friends in DC, how I was not only missing out on a rowdy White Ford Bronco concert, but also Black Pistol Fire and Nathaniel Rateliffe & Lord Huron concerts the following week.
But then I took a step back. I took a breath and realized how much I truly valued the relationships I’ve built here in the city. From the NP tribe, to the USC crew, to my fellow Clever folk, I’ve been slowly building relationships with people who matter to me. And these things don’t come overnight, I have to work at it. I have to put the time in here that I did back in DC, ND, and PA. And already it’s begun to pay off. I’ve had some really amazing moments with some amazing people, from simple acts like actually watching a basketball game with the USC crew (the Warriors, though I was upset for a moment when I realized it wasn’t the movie) to biking around the city on Memorial Day with Juan and ending up at a bar where we somehow racked up a $75 tab on a hotdog, free popcorn, and beer.
The realization that it’s only been two months, that I can’t rush into friendships like I do with the activities in my life, hit me when sitting on the top of Mt. Tam. Kristine, Juan, and I had spent almost two hours trying to find the trailhead after driving through Muir Woods, followed by a pretty tough, switch-backed, stunning hike into fog that melted away as the sun made its appearance. Sure, I wasn’t at The Mountains in Dushore, but I was at the top of one with two good friends. And that counts for something.
The deep relationships I have back in DC came with time. For a long period I only knew Packy’s rugby friends as the dudes who took their shirts off at Kitty’s Saloon. Fast forward two years and I was the one taking my shirt off right with them.
It’s only a matter of time, friends in SF.
Beer I drank: Briney Melon Gose by Anderson Valley
Song I heard: Blue Blazes by Black Pistol Fire
Book I read: The Fireman by Joe Hill