I’ve been back in San Francisco for just shy of a week now – 6 days to be exact – and things are different. It’s not just because of the drought and the fact the trees look darker and slightly depressed, and it’s not just because Burning Man is this week so everyone with enough money for a ticket, pyschedelics in their pocket and carpentry skills is out of town. I also don’t think it had anything to do with the earthquake this morning, though I might be wrong about that. Speaking of which – not only am I completely fine, but I didn’t even wake up for it AND this gigantic stack of magazines in my room didn’t fall down. How is that even possible?
Yes, San Francisco feels different. It’s not as beautiful or perfect as I remembered it to be. It’s foggier than I remember, and smaller, more neighborhood-like. I have two new roommates who are pretty much strangers. They replaced two of my best friends and now they’re in my house, so that’s a big change. There’s a new bookstore in my neighborhood, and I’ve already cooked three different meals to eat. That’s unrelated to the bookstore but just thought I should mention it.
Yes, this is a different San Francisco. I don’t wake up at 6 in the morning to commute to a job where people are overpaid to do things that don’t matter that much. I don’t have to pretend to care about jargon or posturing. I see daytime people, the people who have flexible schedules and are not extensions of a brand. I go running, which is really insane. I mean honestly, me, running? Can you imagine it? Shouldn’t I be doing improv? But yes, there’s improv too and it’s delicious and challenging.
Perhaps you’re familiar with botany or gardening, and you’ve at some time or another pruned a plant. That is, you cut off the branches of the plant so that its energy could be devoted to writing, or maybe ceramics.
I’m see this time in my life as the post-prune-period, or Phase 3. I’ve cut away some things from my life. Some things in my life have been cut away from me. And now it’s time to grow towards the sun. What could be simpler or more terrifying?
If I were as noble as a plant, as steadfast and forthright as my plant Deb for instance, there would be no question as to what to do next. There would be no baggage, none of this stupid and useless fear of failure that dogs human lives- that dogs my life.
No, if I were a plant like Deb, with my dead leaves gone, I would throw everything I was into growing new leaves to replace them and getting into a sketch troupe that created really compelling material.
At this time when old routines are broken and new ones are being formed, I hope that I can be like Deb and throw myself into the work that I need to be doing, into the work that no one else can do. That’s her lesson for me, and for us all.