KPIX On-Air Piece #2
Nashville I Know: A Muxtape By Me

The Start of Something That Could Be So Many Things

As I Wait for ItSo, some shit went down. You probably gathered that from the cryptic post and change in tone around here. (However, if you are following me on Twitter you are probably catching on to plenty.) Things, to categorize the situation sloppily, are different around here. And they are continuing to change.

My job is the same (and I'm very happy there), but my personal life is in transition in many facets. I may be moving soon, away from Berkeley and into the city of San Francisco. If not soon, it will be as soon as the lease is up. I will live alone. The very, very short of it is I fucked up, made some hard decisions, hurt some people, got some courage and went out on all sorts of tiny, fragile limbs.

Despite all that, and in part because of it, I'm flying where I have always wanted to go, on to fulfilling lifelong imaginings. Oh, the things I would do differently, but I've never been more primed and ready to steer this singular life I've been given into one that is fully realized. Whatever that means. I'm going to fucking find out.

There are some people whom I love dearly who may never speak to me again. Meanwhile I'm meeting some of the most fascinating and generous people I've ever encountered, people who make me feel more alive than I have felt in recent memory. Everything is a blur. Almost all of it. Since moving I experience air, food, faces so intensely and fully that I can't make heads or tails of anything.

It's been four months since I left Tennessee for the Bay Area, and this crazy parrot-having place I landed in could not be more different than where I lived for the entirety of three decades. When I think of trying to put down into words how it makes me feel to be walking the dogs in the morning just as the sun is pulling itself over the crests of the Berkeley Hills, to see a palm tree in my peripheral vision, I go numb. Which is insane, it's just a palm tree. What could be so fabulous and compelling about it that I cannot manage to convey its impact in writing? The issue isn't the tree itself, it's the unexpectedness of it. It's purely foreign to me. A palm tree, to a girl who always lived in Tennessee, is an exotic thing. It is a large, looming figure of otherness; an iconic beast that exists in postcards and at the movies and on vacation. Never when you are walking the dog. So, when I see it out of the corner of one eye my chest brims with the thrill of not just something new, but a regular something new. Something different from what always was, and I can see it whenever I want. I just walk outside.

I am still experiencing culture shock a third of a year later. Today as I rounded the corner to take the stairs down at the Embarcadero BART I got stuck behind two older gentlemen, one of which walked with the aid of a cane. They slowly ambled forward at a pace just quick enough to prevent me from easily slipping around them. Side by side they walked down each step at an exceedingly slow pace making it impossible for me, or anyone, to pass.

Initially this annoyed me. I thought about walking too closely on the heels of the man not assisted by a cane to not-so-subtly imply I wanted to pass on the left, which is standard operating procedure. The thought quickly dissipated, and I decided instead to enjoy the leisurely trip down the stairs while I gave thanks for my youth and my healthy, able legs.

Moments later, over the roar of mp3s in my ears, I heard a hostile voice. "Move it. Move over! You can't take up the whole fucking staircase!"

My immediate thought was that the loud voice I heard was a friend or acquaintance of the older gentlemen, and that he was teasing the men somehow. It became quickly apparent this wasn't the case. Music was playing at a substantial volume in my ears - in part so I can avoid these situations, mind you - but I heard one or both of the older men say something in response to the guy yelling. And it wasn't friendly banter, I can tell you that much. It was then that a man with long hair shoved under a baseball cap pushed past my left shoulder, and the men blocking the stairwell while yelling, "I don't care how old you are!"

Stunned, I took the opportunity to follow the screaming man into the gap he so forcefully made for us and past the two bewildered men. I let the interaction wash over me as I scrambled down the left side of the escalator, which happened to be clear.

Had the yelling man not forced his way past the amblers I would have missed the Richmond train. My wait would have been another six minutes.

birdoverbridgeOnce on the train car I found a place to hang on since all the seats were taken. I let the previous few minutes run over in my mind and I stood, mouth agape, at how I was in such a different place where the dynamics of daily interactions are played out in ways fully foreign to me. Frankly, I think if people rode mass transit in any significant numbers in Tennessee and that had happened, rude dude might have gotten a beat down, cowboy-boot-in-his-ass style. Or at least the serious threat of one. You just don't curse seniors like that in public without someone calling your ass on it. At least, I think I'm right about that. It's been a while since I've been home.

Anyway, I want to tell you, favorite reader, about my adventures in this fantastic place where every red cent I pay in rent is worth it because I love my life more than ever. I want to chronicle all the newfound fascinations I find in The Big City at every turn. I'm just too mired in the wonderfulness of it all to know how just yet.

It's coming.

Comments

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Glad to have you here. :)

I live in San Francisco as well. Why didn't you tell the jerk to STFU? I would have... people need to speak up when they see things like this and not be part of the problem. Just my 2 cents and welcome to SF, I have lived here my entire life and it is a great place.

Tybette, I would love that. Thank you for the wine stopper, that was far more generous than I deserve.

[this is good]

Someday our paths may cross and we can smile at each other and share.

My best your way. Thanks for what you share.

I continue to enjoy living vicariously through you! I hope the ups outweigh the downs and that you'll continue to share as much as you want to.

Hugs from TN.

p.s. Personally, I have a vendetta against Berkeley and am glad to hear you might be moving. Of course, my animosity is football related...

change is a fine and terrible thing, always. still, hate to hear of personal woes amid personal triumphs. i'm in the midst of many changes myself and it can be like wrestling a rabid bear.

i do enjoy your views on the daily exotica of a palm tree and the western coast as a major shift from the hills and valleys to Tn. each time i have been someplace where palm trees moved in the breezes, i too found myself wanting to grab someone's attention and say "looky! a palm tree!" though i never did. as a lifelong Tn resident, those trees simply astonish.

ps
i have tried to Twitter, but alas, I remain mostly twitless as to its usage. best to you.

Love reading your blog. I too lived in TN for most of my 30 years before moving to DC last summer. While we may be living on separate coasts, your words ring so true to the situation I find myself in now. Congrats on taking the big leap!

It took me a full 6mo in SF before I fully realized that I wasn't on vacation and that I actually lived there. It's such a magical place.

I hope you're privately writing down as much as you can. Transition points like this are so full of lessons that you can't really absorb them all as they happen, and it's nice to stash some away for digestion at a later, less overstimulating time.

When I lived in Houston - I had Palm Trees out my front door. I always talked about how wierd that was. It is wierd - b/c Palm Trees were only available during "vacation" time in Florida - and those, generally, were really happy memories.

I'm glad you are happy and finding your way. I just miss you so much.

Poised for a new beginning. Rock on Brit, Rock the f on.

Wow! You blogged your dear lil' heart out just now. I'm sorry if you're flying solo now. As far as the platonic stuff, I hope you're just rushing to conclusions, and that you can do all the patchwork you need to, if you need to.

Can't wait to hear some more about your relations, and/or some excitement over your course change. I'm rooting for you.

i will always be from tennessee, even if i accidently let myself lose it to the old dudes on the subway stairs.

Sparkling Water, I didn't tell that guy to STFU because I was too stunned, frankly, to do anything at all.

You never had much use for what i had to say, (which is ok, really) but i have to tell you that i have felt just exactly what you are feeling, everything, many times. How exciting. People who do not pick up and leave familiar surroundings to experience other places and people will never know the exhilaration that follows such a move. Whatever you think you did to "fuck up", was actually in the cards long before you packed that first bag. You have a good head on your shoulders, and i LOVED this post. Like the commenter above said, rock on, kiddo.

Everyone seems to have said everything already, so I'll just say this: my heart goes out to you and the VCformerB. You two have shared a lot over the years; hopefully you'll find a way to continue to share your lives even if you can't be together That Way anymore.

Anything is possible.

Sometimes the most honorable thing to do is choosing the path that you know is right for YOU, even if other people don't agree. :)

As I grew up in the non-palm-tree Midwest, I like to explain my fascination with them as such: It's impossible to not smile when you're looking at a palm tree, even if you smile just a teeny tiny bit.

It is the palm trees, they do it to you. They represent all that is exciting and good about big moves. And...they look like the trees from The Lorax, which is cool.

You're a trooper.

So, when I see it out of the corner of one eye my chest brims with the thrill of not just something new, but a regular something new. Something different from what always was, and I can see it whenever I want. I just walk outside.

That's exactly how I feel about Tennessee, even after being here almost four years (moved here from Los Angeles). The trees, the weather (I LOVE thunderstorms!), all four seasons, the fireflies, so much green!... all of it. It's just magical to me. A regular something new, that brings me joy each and every time I see it.

And I feel the the culture shock too. I can't get used to the lack of diversity, the prejudice (or at least the talk that sounds just like prejudice to me), the attitudes, even simple things like language (the interstate vs the freeway, for example -- and ohl... what the...?? there's an "i" in that word, people!) all throw me for a loop sometimes. I hear racist comments just thrown out there like it's normal and, like you, I'm just stunned into silence. But there's always some "bad" with the magical, I think. Nothing is perfect. But it still somehow doesn't mute the magic.

I love SF too. I'm so glad you're getting to experience life there! And I love seeing it through your eyes.

I'm sorry your dealing with some of the crap of life; but again, that's just how it goes in life. You fall down and scrape your knees, cry for a while, limp for a bit, then move on to the next event. Rinse and repeat till you die. That's what makes life so rich and full. All the good and bad, hardship and magic, love and loss, mixed together in an amazing mosaic. It's good stuff, even when it's hard.

Keep hangin' in. And keep soakin' up the magic. May it never get old.

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