this is mostly a letter i was writing in my head, to amanda. but i thought i should just write it all here instead.

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i’m glad i came out here. my ipod keeps shuffling to songs about california, songs about this year being better than the last. i believe in them, because i have to.

today i went to the oakland library, which honestly made me kinda homesick because the pgh library is so fucking great that any other library anywhere is pretty disappointing. but then the library closed and i had to make a several-mile trek up to rockridge to hang out with scarin and andrew and some danish couchsurfers. biking during rush hour, oh no, right? but it was totally fine. drivers aren’t totally fucked up here, not all of them anyway. they’re used to bikers and there are bike lanes and routes everywhere and it’s so nice. about halfway through my journey i saw a house whose garden was so magnificent i just needed to stop. hot pink petals everywhere, or i guess they were more magenta, so vibrant it hurt to look. i took a few blossoms that had fallen onto the sidewalk, pressed them in my journal to mail to my girl (who isn’t really my girl anymore, but i think i can still send her flowers and have it be okay). but i just stood and stared for a while, overwhelmed by the beauty. the foliage here is so different. it makes me feel like i’ve really gotten somewhere. there’s a palm tree on my block, can you imagine?

eventually i made it to my destination and met up with everyone. we ate mexican food and then went to this lake. the sun was setting and it was so ridiculously cold (okay, like probably in the upper 60’s, but that’s cold for swimming!) but we all went swimming anyway. scarin was rocking the most amazing bathing suit, and the two danish dudes were brightly colored and hilarious. we all splashed and played and talked and it was fun, even though my fingertips were turning blue.

walking back to the car i was cold and shivery. the sunset made all of us stop and take notice. you can’t write about sunsets. you just can’t. you have to be there. but trust me, it was gorgeous.

scarin had the access code to this hippie hot tub, so we all went there. basically, some rich dude with a hot tub has given out access codes to a few respectful people, granting them access to his backyard. these people can share them with a select few respectful people, and on and on. there’s a shower and changing area and a big hot tub, non-chlorinated. the lights are on low and everyone is naked. speech is prohibited, to cut down on sexual harassment possibilities. but i think also, to make you more aware of the moment, to make it more of a space to renew one’s energy.

so. i was naked, with one of my favorite & oldest palz, and three dudes i’d met just that night, but it was totally fine, not awkward or weird at all, with anyone. strangers came and went in complete silence. the hot tub was almost too hot, even for a hot-water-lover like myself, so i had to keep getting out. there was a hammock next to the tub, and i laid on it.

the hammock! remember the hammock? [for those who don’t know, i had a hammock several houses ago {which was actually amanda’s, but i was its custodian i guess} & had to leave it behind. i was really bummed. beyond bummed. this summer, it was finally rescued. i was so excited. i’d been waiting for so long. i went over ben’s house to use it, with amanda, and within five minutes of laying in it the weathered, frayed, un-taken-care-of ropes snapped] when we fell through i tried to be cool with it. i said “at least we got five minutes” but i was angry and sad. all spring and summer, all i’d wanted to do was lay in a fucking hammock. be caressed by the breeze. feel like i was floating. and it just felt like i wasn’t going to get to do it. it felt like i was so close, but wasn’t there. like i was being taunted, or something.

and here i was. 2,500 miles from my old backyard. in this awesome hammock, naked in semi-public but feeling safe. skin warm and soft. one of the danes sighed, “there’s no place in the world i’d rather be than here, right now.”  no dogs barking or neighbors screaming at each other, which usually punctuated most of my hammocking back in pgh. i finally got my hammock time. i didn’t even know it was coming; just thought i’d have to do without. i  never could have imagined this night, this circumstance, any of it. but it happened, and it was so fucking sweet.

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One response »

  1. hey, totally weird– i hadn’t looked at your blog in a long time and then i did and it said you are here in oakland! i used to have a different name and i used to write “tuff town” and i live here now. it would be cool to hang out if you want to ever, glad to hear california is treating you well.

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