Saturday, May 12, 2007

ANNA KARENINA in big letters

I'm lying in bed trying to fall back asleep, I mean I just slept deeply for probably several hours but now is the danger zone when my brain is wired I'm planning out so many projects at once but also turning to the side to grasp the body pillow, poking my fingers with my nails to bring this calm feeling to my head because I'm stimulating the nerve endings, breathing deeply, humming on exhale then breathing in only when I have to, anal sphincter exercises that sort of calm me, all of these tricks I have to try to fall back asleep and they’re not working. Of course I start worrying that everything is going to get awful again, that I'm not going to be able to function, but I really wish I didn't have to get up to piss because that's what woke me up and why can't I just ignore that urge, especially now when I might never again have a good night of sleep or even a not-so-good night where I still feel kind of okay the next day, but then I’m waking up again so that means I actually fell asleep and I don't feel so bad, not as bad as yesterday at least.

It's Chris's 40th birthday, I'm on my way to meet her and Zee for dinner at Burma Superstar and I'm actually running on time which is kind of exciting. The thing I like about going out during the day is that I feel extra-conspicuous, especially today with my red, orange, and navy plaid chenille pants contrasting with the green and blue ‘60s sofa-pattern coat and pink floral print scarf. There's still a lot of glass on the ground at the bus stop, and I'm glad that I didn't run in between buses to catch one and risk getting squashed between the buses or hit by one two three cars, instead I missed both buses but I can see another one coming. It's that time of day, rush hour they say. There's someone super-cute looking down at me from the other side of the bus shelter, I mean I'm sitting and he's standing and we're both looking out for the bus but he's also looking back at me or maybe my food but actually I think me and I smile and say hi! I feel calm out here in the fog and then the bus comes, I have to put my food away and grab my bag and try to enter the bus with glamour because I like making glamorous entrances, right?

On the bus, the cute boy is sitting down in one of the seats I hate the most, in the middle of the bus where two cars are connected by some rubber thing at the bottom that makes all this noise and there are no windows, but fuck it the seat across from him is open so I sit right down and we exchange shy smiles. Then the sun is coming out, it's getting slightly warm I say oh no, maybe I have to take off the layers. Then we start talking about the weather, I think we both like it foggy and cool which is nice, at some point he says are you doing any readings this summer? Oh, he knows who I am -- that's fun, I don't know how -- we end up talking about writing, which is always a good way to connect especially when we know people in common, he just won a contest which got him a scholarship, that's exciting! Turns out he saw me speak at USF, that's right now I can remember him asking the professor a question right afterwards, maybe about a paper.

Then we talk about music and going dancing, which is funny because he lives in the Inner Richmond which is also where I lived years ago when I went out all the time in San Francisco, I mean I went out all the time later than that too but years ago I remember waiting late-late at night for the Geary bus I hated it. Or trying to spot it from my window on Geary before leaving, then always rushing out and just missing it, nightmare. But it's fun talking about music, too, we like some of the same things and I don't have any idea where to go to hear djs I like, he's going to send me ideas that's lovely. So we exchange info and I'm saying something about living in the Inner Richmond 15 years ago which is crazy really, the 15 years part I love that I can have that sense of my own history like I'm going to meet Chris because it's his 40th birthday and we met 15 years ago, he even came over my house when I lived on Geary. And Zee who was my first boyfriend, 1993 when we were both 19.

But my bus friend, Stephen is his name, he says it must've been fun to live in San Francisco in the early ‘90s. I say it was incredible in a lot of ways, I mean that's when I really found radical queer outsider culture I wouldn't give it up for anything, but in a lot of ways it wasn't fun because it was hard I mean everyone was so desperate. I don't have time to explain that we were lonely and strung out and escaping so much violence and trying to deal with the world around us and people dying and giving up and trying not to give up, I mean I don't have time to explain because there’s the bus, I mean here's my stop and then I'm on my way through the fog because it's always foggy out here the air is so fresh, to the restaurant.

Then I'm exactly on time to meet Chris and Zee, wait I almost forgot to talk about the drunk guy periodically yelling at me to be quiet, no talking on the bus, saying various unintelligible drunk things in that red-faced I-hate-queens/you-fucking-faggot-bitch universal homophobia tone, almost ruining my fun conversation in the middle of the bus but luckily not interrupting too much since we ignored him.

Anyway, the food at Burma Superstar is more delicious than I remember and it's not sweltering like usual in the restaurant because we've arrived super-early to avoid the hour-long wait and somehow the food doesn't even fuck up my digestion or at least not right away. It's fun spending time with Chris just when she's turning 40 and when I say something about my house on Geary, she remembers the iron gate we somehow had in the middle of the apartment, she thinks we tried to take it down but that's impossible -- no, she says, you wanted to take it with you. And Zee who wasn't in San Francisco yet when I lived on Geary remembers pictures I took in front of the gate and sent him after we'd met in DC, his mother said he's so handsome, why does he have to do that to himself? It was a high-goth-with-a-twist photo shoot, complete with wool flare sailor trousers, shimmer black shirt with a big round silver pendant, green and purple goth bob curled underneath a piece of lace. I like these memories, in some ways it makes me feel safer to have this history, I guess it's also that there have been 15 years without my parents that's almost as much time as with them -- keep going, keep going!

After dinner, we go to Green Apple Books because no trip to the Inner Richmond is complete without Green Apple Books although pretty soon I'm crashing from all the dust in the bookstore and my fatigue kicking in, earlier when I found a few extra pellets of the higher-dose homeopathic remedy I was so hopeful that it would save me, I mean it did give me an energy boost that combined with a fun bus conversation and sweet dinner to keep me buzzing for a few hours but now I'm in the bookstore staring at ANNA KARENINA in big letters with Leo Tolstoy and for a minute I'm actually thinking oh, did Anna Karenina write a new book?

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