07 January 2015

The Calm

Ali & I at Garden of the Gods

I went to Colorado in August. When I announced the trip, a lot of people asked, "why?" I basically replied "why not?" It was honestly as simple as that.

I had been invited to Colorado several times by Ali and her parents. Also, I had nothing going on that weekend. Generally, in the absence of a reason to say "no," I say "yes."* So I went to Colorado. I had a great time.

Ali & I stayed with her parents. We went hiking. We sat poolside. We relaxed. We ate delicious food. We saw a really good improv show and went to a wolf preserve. Also - and this really is best thing - went to the United States Olympic Training Center.

SO. EXCITED! soexcited!
Yes, I wore an Olympics t-shirt.
My love of the Olympics is not well documented. It started in the early nineties and has only become more intense. I love the Olympics for so many reasons. I love that the games are global. Most of the world has a horse in the game, so to speak. It's unifying in the way I imagine an alien invasion would be. Everyone has something at stake. Everyone has a reason to pay attention.

As an American, I'm pretty sure my team is going to beat your team at something. There will be one or two or many sports that the USA will dominate. My support somehow qualifies me as a part of the team so "we" will kick the butts of most! The Olympics are the one time when I'm a stereotypical American, declaring general superiority.

And Bob Costas! I love listening to Bob Costas. He's been the face of Olympic coverage for me. I don't know what I'm going to do when NBC doesn't have the coverage anymore. I don't know if I trust any one other person with Olympics coverage. Maybe Anderson Cooper. Maybe.

The Olympics training center was everything I needed it to be. There were inspirational videos. There were Olympians training (behind glass) with branded equipment.

Michael Phelps probably peed in this pool...
My "say yes now and figure it out later" philosophy almost burned me after Colorado. I returned less than three hours before the On The Run Tour SF show was scheduled to start. There was some scrambling but I was able to make it to - and be tagged at - the pre-party.

We are just SO cute!
I've never been a huge fan of Beyonce's vocals. I see what she does though, to strengthen her brand and I respect that. I'm more of a Jay Z fan. A lot of people I know went to the concert, but I was in a party of two with Christine. Christine LOVES rap and hip-hop. Christine has empowered me to consider loving rap and hip-hop. I used to really love hip-hop and I trained myself out of it as a way to fit in with my peers. I was born in a predominantly brown neighborhood and music was just music. Then my family moved deep into the suburbs and music became more. I could be black and only listen to hip-hop. I could be pigeonholed and easily labeled. I remember actively deciding against that as a kid. "Oh, you assume I've never heard of R.E.M.? Well I happen to love R.E.M." (Lie)

I purposefully explored music contrary to what people assumed I liked. I discovered a lot of great music that way and was actually able to make solid connections with people using music. One of my first outings with Lucy was a Rascal Flatts at the Fargodome with Blake Shelton as the opening act.

I also took pleasure in bringing people face to face with their biases.
"YOU know this song?"
"Why wouldn't I?"
"It's country."
"Well you're... I just didn't think you would listen to country."
"Why not? I write. I love storytelling. Country music has great storytelling."
That happened so many times in so many places. And it was satisfying every time. Still, I didn't like downplaying my love of hip-hop. I didn't like excluding that part of myself for the sake of making a point. Christine never had this internal conflict. She doesn't defend what she likes - she just likes it. Knowing her has inspired me to be honest - even if that means being pigeonholed. So it's always extra special to see Jay Z with her. (This was our third time.)

San Francisco Street Food Festival
16 August 2014
Also in August, I went to the San Francisco Street Food Festival with Kristen. I met Kristen earlier in 2014 and loved her humor immediately. I also love her love of food. We approached the street food festival with strategy and basically beat it at its own game. We ate very little from very many places. We split even the smallest of pickled quail eggs, giving us the ability to make it all the way to a grilled peach with goat(?) cheese and a balsamic vinegarette. It's possible the SFSFF won't exist in 2015 - it's apparently a nightmare to organize. My first trip there was with Jesse a few weeks after we broke up. It was awkward. My attempt after that was also awkward. I was determined to have a positive experience and - thanks to Kristen and Paula and Tyrone - I did.

Tyrone, me, Paula & Kristen
16 August 2014 
... with the hot cop of the Castro
18 August 2014
Benjamin Booker
20 August 2014
Trivia speed dating
22 August 2014
Outside Mama's on Washington Square
29 August 2014
I began writing again. I mean, let's be honest, by August I was officially out of excuses. I wrote for myself and I wrote for pay. In August I wanted to build my writing portfolio. It was important to me even though I didn't know why. Rational reasons aside, I worked to make it happen.

I used to have a wish that all of my favorite people would move to SF. I never really expected it to come true. Still, I'm not the only one to recognize that the West Coast is the best coast. Lizbeth is among those who now live in the Golden State and in August she came to visit.

Her purpose was not to visit me, but the result was the same. We had a typical SF brunch - two hours of waiting and one hour of eating. It was the perfect amount of time for a good catch up session. And I was able to keep her talking for a long time before she even noticed the wait. I'm pretty sure we in San Francisco call that a "win."

Not bad for a selfie in the dark. 
I ended August with Ted and Anne in a mostly empty bar. Ted is my token introvert friend. On paper, he and I are very different. Actually, we're also different IRL. Whatever. We work and that's what matters.

Anne is always very much in the moment. I could go crazy thinking of possibilities and making plans to take strategic steps toward my goals. But Anne makes it a point to take advantage of what's happening now. I think she's just wired that way. It's admirable.

*A 2014 policy discontinued in 2015

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