San Francisco Continued...
Sharing a room again with Erin Wahlberg. Wall-To-Wall, Satan On The Couch and Our Intrepid Explorer. It has been about ten years since we shared a room and here we are again, contemplating bunk beds. This time I get the top bunk. I give thanks that there is a ladder. Unlike in the dorms where there was a lot of shifting and hopping and hoping one didn't die during the attempt of crawling, drunk, into bed.
There are states of exisitence, the endurance of which are distinct. Ways of living that, at the time, you feel like you will never be able to forget. And then you promptly forget them. The years of living with Erin Wahlberg are some of these. Comfort, coziness, maddness and mess all rolled up into one small room. Years of living dangerously in the continous search for Quantum Leap reruns and the best ways to scam more food out of the dining hall. The unphotographed years, the sleepless years, the plumber's years...these are the years that all come flooding back into memory as we enter our room.
Erin's suitcase was already overflowing onto the floor by the time I arrived at the hostel (Elements Hostel, 21st & Mission.) There were 2 sets of bunks in our room. The bottom bunk on the other bed had been claimed by some unknown. She turned out to be cool. Mostly because she left the next day ... and I think that was probably best for her more than us.
First night in town: Veggie burritos and drinks at the bar next door. I think we thought we would stay out all night drinking it up like "the old days." OK, that's probably what I was thinking. It didn't happen like that. In fact, I spilled my first drink all over the bar. Nervous fingers needed cigarettes. But what's there to be nervous about, right? Nothing! Not a thing. Stupid really, overthinking something like this. A weekend, a wedding, a little reune. No thing to think about. Sure. Really though? A little, OK? It's just that it has been so long and so many things are different. But writing in hindsight I realize that the greatest thing about these friends of mine is that nothing is different when we are together. Sure, we are older and wiser in aspects. Events have shaped us. Relationships have added a little something to our step but in our hearts of hearts and our inner most souls we are still the ragtag ramble we were ten years ago. Plus a baby.
My need for a cigarette denied. In a town where there is no smoking anywhere, you can really smell the bar. Body odor, fake leather and stale beer. Tasty and delicious. Not really. But at least my clothes didn't stink at the end of the night. You never think about those things until you pull something out of a suitcase and smell the smoke from your house embedded in the fabric. Instead of staying out all night we called it a rather early evening. We planned to play tourist the next day and tourists need their sleep!
I don't really need to go into the details of travel in San Francisco do I? You can go there. I recommend it. It's a nice town. Wahlberg and I stumbled around in the touristier areas. Ate some crab. Bought some chocolate, took a boat ride around Alcatraz and under the Golden Gate Bridge as opposed to walking across it.
Of course, by this time, we were running late.
Let me ammend that - because of the lack of surface transit in San Francisco - we were running late. We waited, with about 70 other magooes for a bus that never came. Suckers, the lot of us.
Late for what? Late for the pre-wedding cocktail party! Rush we back to the hostel. Quick shower and change. We know how to do this. And we clean up nice. Back the way we came and up into the ritzy, bay-front hotel.
We recognize no one. Except the groom, he stands about a foot taller and 50 pounds lighter than everyone else in the bar. And here is true testament to how much things stay the same - 4 years since the last time I have seen my Seth and there is no screaming, no yelling, no hopping up and down one foot to the other in excitement. When he spots me, he holds open his arms and embraces me without breaking stride in his conversation...
and whatever for being rude to interrupt. some things are more important damnit...
We drink, we snack, we touch base with some folks we didn't expect to see and then it was over and we were all going to get real food and converge again on the bride and groom's house. It was a short lived visit. Erin and I decline the invitation to join the bachelor bowling party and end up at a bar where someone ELSE we know works.
How was I supposed to know, eight years ago, that the bay area would become such a hotspot for New Paltz graduates? We are everywhere!
More reuning, more drinking, more chatting with friends and strangers alike....but at 2am all the bars close and what's a girl to do?
Tomorrrow we skip ahead a day and go straight to the wedding. Which was beautiful. My travels do not end in San Francisco though. Stay tuned for an indepth look at a family wedding and a little something to do with llamas before the end of the week!