READ ME ... yeah, right. Right?

I'm sick of everyone else having on-line diaries. I want one too.

What is this all about? Maybe you should read the READ ME READ ME.

july 28, 1999:
never say never
more unconnected snippets


... my scuba instructor, 1983

My biggest, if not only, fear used to be one thing: that life is a movie. Ultimately I realized that my fear was merely a hope, and that an exciting life should always feel like a good movie - - the kind of movie that leaves you changed, the kind of movie that teaches you, the kind of movie where you learn something each time you see it.

Those movies are far too rare.

Fourteen years ago, during the fall of 1985, my father and I took a trip to Northern California. The goal was to visit the University of California at Berkeley, where I had been admitted for college to commence that fall. After staying in Berkeley for a few days, we decided to take a tour of Stanford University, "just to see what it was like."

We drove in our rental car over the Bay Bridge into the City, and as we approached the skyline suddenly came into view. I gasped. And I knew I had to live here.

When I was a student at Stanford, where I had visited "just to see what it was like," I used to take sporadic trips by train into the City. I had no reason to tell anyone about these daytrips, so I didn't. Each time, I traveled a familiar route: CalTrain to the SoMa station, walk to Fisherman's Wharf, say hello to the Sea Lions, then spend the rest of the afternoon looking at science exhibits at the Exploratorium. This was my time alone, away from the country club feeling of the Farm, and I relished each short-lived visit. On one of my daytrips, I ran into a friend of mine with her boyfriend at the Exploratorium. It was a Saturday, and they looked surprised to see me.

I was starting to face one of those dichotomy experiences again - - situations where the way that people were describing my life to me was not matching up well with the way I was experiencing it - - so I decided to start running again . . . a long overdue decision. Happily, each run has been nothing short of revelatory.

I have been combining these pleasant runs with unpleasant errands. Today the errand involved finally getting myself to cancel membership to the gym that I haven't visited in two years, and whose management has been nothing but unhelpful in allowing me to cancel. Yesterday the errand was returning a pair of black Prada pumps whose right heel fell off to Neiman Marcus, and then making a deposit of cash into a Wells Fargo ATM that proceeded to eat up my envelope without giving me a receipt.

There is nothing like a good run to put the unpleasant in perspective. It's not like there is a shortage of things to look at in San Francisco. Perhaps I was suffering from an overdose of technology. The most beautiful things in this world, it seems to me, are high-tech by natural design.

Take Potrero Hill. Filled with "community gardens and community playgrounds, the neighborhood has a hippie appeal . . . albeit one with a decidedly wealthy underpinning (how else would the "community" be able to afford so many nice community gardens with such nice community views? ). Nevermind the commercialism behind the communalism. Look up at the skies, not down at the expensive cars on the street, and the vistas are spectacular.

Most spectacular of all, however, are the sea lions who live near Pier 39. It was hard to believe that it took me a run down to the Embarcadero (from the Mission) to re-visit them after about five years of going without their company.

In enjoying the sea lions, I was not alone. The crowds gathered to watch them lounge on the pilings near the Pier were a testimonial to the triumph of natural beauty over San Francisco's sometimes spectacular modern architecture.

Sadly, the crowds of humans this time, unlike five years ago, also dwarfed the number of sea lions themselves. Where did all the sea lions go? Dead, died off, with a tragedy of commons, and no one having cash left over after buying their expensive designer planes to give one shit for their well being.

Almost all of my fantasies as a little girl had to do with career aspirations. I was going to be a world-renowned geneticist like Linus Pauling. I was going to be a brilliant marine biologist like Jacques Cousteau. I was going to be a life-changing novelist like Madeline L'Engle or Ray Bradbury. I was going to be a syndicated columnist like Irma Bombeck. These were my heroes then. They remain my heroes today, despite my current external MO. The route is strategic. The goal is the same.

There is so much money in this City. Why are there so few sea lions? In a world where people live for "plane money," one has to wonder: have they looked outside at all?

I have. I am. And I will.


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