Wednesday, January 21, 2009

so I was in san francisco for a wedding this weekend. it was a lovely wedding, but that's not what I come to talk about.

I spent most of my down time performing some kind of nostalgic hajj across the city.

"here is the safeway where I bought the dozen roses that springydog hated and taught me that I couldn't buy my way out of screwing up by bringing flowers."

"here is the bakery I applied for a job at that I didn't get"

"there is the coffee shop where i studied for my biology GRE"

"there is the restaurant run by a cult that serves tasty vegetarian food and is staffed by glassy-eyed white women in saris"

"there is the produce market where I used to have to elbow old chinese ladies when the owners brought out a new batch of satsumas."

"there is the parking lot where I got the zipcar to drive to berkeley to take springydog to chez panisse before I moved away and I could only get a 10pm reservation because I called 2 days in advance and the whole time it sortof felt like playing dress-up."

I am sure it was desperately annoying to other people when I was with them, so after a while I just starting doing it solo. The whole thing seemed very weird. I only lived in san francisco for 6 months and I wasn't even that happy. Why did I want to see these unimportant places? did it have to do with constructing a nominally unique relationship narrative? Is it maybe because so much of my adult personal history is located places that cannot be easily revisited so all that feeling gets centralized in the couple of places that can? Does this happen to other people?

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I get that way when I go back to New York, even though I wasn't crazy about the city when I was actually living there. At first I thought it was due to every New York resident's latent fear that people will think they don't/didn't "know" the city, but in light of your SF example, maybe there's something else at play.

Paul Smecker said...

once, when entering st. louis by highway, my buddy saw this playground with giant turtle sculptures/things for kids to play on. he was like "oh yeah! i totally made out with a chick on that turtle."

so, there's that.

Wade Garrett said...

I tend to do that, too, particularly in cities in which I haven't spent all that much time. In the cities I've actually lived in, I usually have more than one prominent memory to associate with a given place. But in the cities I've spent just a little time in, I tend to associate one powerful memory with a given place or restaurant or whatever.