Talking to Brendan last night, he mentioned the lighted truck parade. Oddly enough, he wasn’t the first person to mention the parade to me—I talked to my father earlier and he said that he had gone to see it, and another old friend trapped in Fort Bragg brought it up as well. I found my response to it rather unnerving.
I mean, the lighted truck parade is a Fort Bragg rite of passage, and it’s the first one I’ve missed, moving down here. It used to end right in front of my house and I remembered clambering out onto the roof to get that shot. The lighted truck parade isn’t that cool, I suppose, but I find myself wondering what I’m going to do on Christmas Day, when I normally go to Jughandle beach, or Fourth of July, when I watch the parade in Mendocino. I don’t feel homesick here, really. It feels like home is here, with my friends and people I love. But then there are moments in which I realize that this is not home, and that no matter how long I live here, it never will be.
At the same time, I am afraid of what is happening at home. I wonder how long it will be until I have no home left at all, because Fort Bragg will be unrecognizable. I don’t know when I’m coming back. Not in the sense of “oh I’m sure I’ll move back someday,” but in the sense of literally not knowing when I will come back. I would like to see friends still there, and my father, and go swimming in the ocean. I would like to walk in Montgomery Woods and take a hot tub at Sweetwater and eat at the Bistro. A number of people are going back up for Christmas, and I think that maybe I should go with them.
But maybe not. I’m not sure I’m ready to return, yet.
I sometimes feel like I have jumped off a boat into the middle of the ocean, and I am looking around saying “well fuck. That was stupid. I should have at least grabbed bread.” There’s nothing beneath my feet anymore.
Sometimes I wake up and look out the window expecting to see the back of the Brewery and Lara’s house, and I pull on some pajama pants and think it’s been awhile since I’ve been to Headlands and I should really swing by and get some hot chocolate and do the crossword. Maybe see if someone wants to go walking out on the railroad tracks today, and go to Cowlicks for ice cream. Mushroom season is here again. And I start to walk down the hall and I realize that Headlands is not around the corner anymore, Site 31 is.
It still feels surreal taking the 108 into the City and looking at the Financial District approaching. The other night, we were walking to the Embarcadero BART station and I turned to Cap’n Raspberry and said “I live here now. Wierd.”
People ask me why I moved here. Why here, and why now. I moved because I felt the spurs of change at my back. I moved because I felt myself becoming bitter and rotting away in Fort Bragg, where I would work a series of crappy service jobs, most of which I hated. I felt myself twisting inside. In my last year in Fort Bragg, I produced almost no creative work outside of this website. I completely flaked on going to graduate school. I almost never saw my father, although he lived only a few miles away. I rarely saw friends. I just retreated into my hole waiting for something that never came because I was inside hiding from it. I left because there was nothing for me in Fort Bragg anymore.
I moved here because I wanted to live somewhere radically different, and it is, in many ways. But in other ways, it’s the same. We here on the Island are a beleaguered population waiting for the other shoe to drop. The rich are still rich and the poor are still poor. But at the same time, delicious food from every continent is a 15 minute bus ride away. I live with my friends, and even more live right down the street. I am so in love with life that sometimes I walk out onto the seawall at six in the morning to watch the sunrise. I feel so much more alive and vivid here that sometimes it is almost painful.
When I want to take a break from work, instead of skulking in the alleys of Fort Bragg, I take the bus into San Francisco and wander down Market Street. Or maybe I take the MUNI to the end of the line. I eat cookies shaped like cocks from Hot Cookies. I drop in to visit friends at work just like I always promised I would do at home, but never did. Most of my friends are a short walk or bus ride away now, instead of hours and worlds apart. I read erotica on the bus and no one cares because this isn’t a small town.
I strike up random conversations with people on the basis of topics of mutual interest.
Oh brave new world, that has such people in it.
I think that I miss my home, in the way that all people do. But I also think that I was ready to leave it behind, that in the space of a few short weeks I woke up and took the right action. My life is myriad and interesting now…I never know what’s going to happen later today, let alone tomorrow. And I may have missed the lighted truck parade, but I got to sit on top of an abandoned oil tank with friends and look into the sunset over the Financial District while geese honked overhead and westbound traffic was backed up.
Hello world, I say softly to myself as I climb down the access stairs. How are you today?