Saturday, February 04, 2012

To get ready

First impression, driving into San Francisco from the train station at night and yes, in spite of the grossness of what all the buildings represent, this skyline has gotten more attractive. Nearing Glen Park and we aren't even in the city yet really, and I'm noticing that every space is taken, little houses and apartment buildings squashed right against one another, no space left. I'm starting at Katia's house for the first night, when I go on a walk the air feels so fresh, views from every corner because every corner is another hill. When I wake up, there's a garden in the back and I step onto the deck moist from the morning fog or maybe this is a drizzle, whatever it is I love it.

This is a different San Francisco, not the one I ever lived in. After 10 pm there's no one out on the street; even in the middle of the day it's almost quiet. But then I'm back to the San Francisco that's familiar, a sublet on the same block where I used to live. Walking around, I don't really find it pretty anymore -- yes, there's amazing graffiti; yes, there are a lot of interesting people to look at; but also I notice that the only trees look stuck, and there’s that thing about no space between buildings again, somehow now that seems strange. The air is disgusting -- car exhaust and laundry detergent, even in my seventh floor apartment. Especially in my seventh floor apartment.

That same view that I used to love so much -- now I'm not sure. Yes, I can see far away, but even when it's quiet there are kids screaming on some rooftop playground, police sirens, trash chutes, someone yelling, pounding of metal against metal in the distance, closer now. But, it's amazing how I can go outside and find what I need, I mean I know where in the neighborhood or at least nearby to go to get drain strainers, probiotics, a soap dispenser, toilet paper, water, a replacement for one of my favorite CDs that got scratched up when it got stuck in my stereo.

Familiarity: I haven't gotten to the top of the hill yet, where I know the air is fresher, coming in from the bay. Donna, the feldenkrais practitioner who I planned appointments with a few months in advance, to save me from falling too far, calls to cancel all the appointments. They installed six smart meters in front of her door, and the radiation from the meters or whatever it is made her so sick that she has to leave the city for a month to figure out what she's going to do. This world that we live in can be so hideous, so heartless in the details, relentless in its pursuit of poison, poison at any cost, poison me and now I need to find another feldenkrais practitioner, so much for advance planning to take care of myself.

I do like this apartment -- except for the fabric softener and car exhaust and smoke and tandoori ovens in the air. I climb out on the fire escape just like in the old days, good or bad I'm not sure but at least I have sun. There's a sun deck on the roof here, but I started to get paranoid about the building manager seeing me out there and I'm guessing he doesn't know I'm subletting, right? Not sure if I should ask the person I'm subletting from or just avoid the roof, the fire escape is more convenient anyway, right? Reminds me that I need some sort of place to sit in the sun in my apartment in Seattle.

Oh, did I mention this headache? This headache. This headache, this head, ache. I did find a feldenkrais practitioner, not just in between these paragraphs but before really, I mean there are a lot in San Francisco but some of them don't call you back and most of them are hard to get to, so hard that I wonder whether the struggle to get there and back cancels out the positive effects. This one is in walking distance, even though I think he just finished his training. I'm going this evening, that's pretty exciting.

Oh, and my sleep -- suddenly it's worse: all wired in the middle of the night, what a mess. Makes me think it's something about the electrical grid or cellphone towers, everything concentrated together downtown because otherwise my sleep has been kind of okay on this trip, saves me from complete catastrophe but now. But now. But now hopefully it's about to get better.

Yes, sitting at the computer ruins my life, that's another thing I notice. But I need to sit at the computer. In a week or two I'll probably be used to San Francisco, maybe sooner even, but I'm starting to think that Seattle will be a good balance for me now -- a balance between the convenience and excitement of the city, and the calm that I need. Better air quality -- that's for sure, I'm going to love the air when I arrive. And, maybe I don't need a view of the skyline, that's what I'm wondering -- a mountain view might be even better. Funny, right when I wrote that I started to miss the city. Here I can see the San Bruno Mountains that used to amaze me, but now they just look like nothing. In comparison to what I used to see. The light glitters off all the car windshields on Potrero Hill in the distance and I'm not sure whether I think it's pretty but then the light starts to soften, the sky gets misty and I watch the pigeons and seagulls on the tops of buildings: maybe this is pretty, just let my eyes relax and see it.

I'm so glad I'm here for a month, time to maybe recover in one place, at least in some ways. And then more travel, I'm already sick of the travel. Sick from the travel. Not sick -- worn out. Sometimes hopeless. Too much pain. When I get to Seattle I will rest, yes, rest. Although I guess first I need to find an apartment. My neck hurts -- my back, jaw, head, shoulders. Time to do some feldenkrais, to get ready for feldenkrais.


whatsername said...

I remember when I moved to Seattle from the bay area one of the things that struck me so hard was the way that, somehow, they made room for the trees in that city. When you're driving over five and come over the mountain and the city is laid out in front of you there's city buildings but there's water and trees and trees and trees in between. I've never seen another city manage that. I miss it now that I'm back here.

mattilda bernstein sycamore said...

Yay for the trees -- I'm looking forward to seeing them -- thanks for writing!

Love --