What happens to it? Do you give it up when you couple up?
It’s nearly 2:30 on a Wednesday morning and I am awake, wondering. Less than two weeks ago, I viewed an apartment with TLOML. Five days ago, we signed a lease on said apartment. Today, I’m pensive.
Let me start over.
I’m sitting here with toothpaste on my one, errant, where-did-this-come-from-I’m-34?! pimple, in a tank and ratty underpants, on a bed on a boxspring on the floor (fitted sheet half off, duvet in a should-have-changed-the-cover-last-weekend heap), reading tabloid interned articles and sipping $5 wine. I made it to the gym at 10 tonight, then got home and ate two Kind bars and sucked down a Bubba of Crystal Light lemonade. Seven pairs of shoes are strewn about my 350 SF space, and those are just the ones outside the federally designated shoe-hanging cubby/shit-in-a-box zone. I have relinquished my cat to another owner, but I still have a litter box, a cat tree, and a $3 chair with a cat-puke stain on. I have one plant, clinging to life, atop my refrigerator. I have a lot of meat and popsicles.
How do I square this with the fact that I will soon be living with a man I adore, in a really, really nice apartment, and most of my personal bullshit Will Have To Go?
I mean, I don’t prefer having $3 furniture in an apartment with the ugliest walls ever, and ending the night with animated gifs of James Purefoy winking in bed (shhhh don’t tell) to an uncluttered, lovely, joint space and curling up with my love, but I’m certainly used to it, you know? I am a decade of used to it.
What happens to the secret single behavior? Does it vanish in a puff of cohabitational bliss? Do you long for it even after you find your better half?
But right now, I am drinking a shiraz-pinot blend and farting around online while a beautiful, fabulous TLOML is making curry and quinoa and singing along to Bilal in his kitchen. I am periodically checking my own pulse, yes. Not dead, and definitely not paid up on my heavenly dues.
On Day Two of our little lovers’ escape, it rained. RAINED.
We packed ourselves full of diner breakfast treats early and set off to enjoy the cable cars that were terribly crowded the day before. The plan had been to hit all three lines to see what we’d missed hoofing it up and down side streets the day before: Up to Fisherman’s Wharf on one line, down again from the Ghirardelli Square area, and then across to Little Saigon and Japantown because they were right next to each other at the end of the California line. Or so I thought.
We rode up as planned, in the open seats at the front. TLOML enjoyed hanging out of the car taking photos and video, despite the cold, fat raindrops assaulting us the entire way. I enjoyed the view with my ass planted firmly in my seat, thanks. There is ample video evidence of my disinterest in swinging one-handed from a moving vehicle. I fall down in flat shoes. People like me don’t need any extra pain-inducing pursuits to get our fill of ow.
He swears he’s more directionally challenged than I am, so I handled navigation. Haaaaaaaaaaaahahahahaaa. Once off the first cable car, I took us roughly a dozen or more blocks out of the way north, east, a little south, a little more east, then back south, and finally west, before we finally found the second cable car line. Fortunately there was a break in the rain for much of this meandering. When we finally found it, we hopped on and headed in the direction of the California line. More rain, but we made the connection okay and headed across to the end, which, according to the map, was where Little Saigon should have been.
I would have been right, were it not for a little line I had overlooked, which connected the words “Little Saigon” with an area roughly a million blocks south and east of where we ended up. Good thing I realized my error exactly 7 seconds after we got off and the cable car had left! No worries, we were still roughly in the area of Japantown, so we decided to look for that, and lunch, instead.
We went north, ducked under an awning to shield ourselves from rain, and pulled the map back out. Too far north.
We headed several blocks south, pulled it out under another awning, too far south.
We headed north again, and west, before deciding a bus might be a good idea, considering we were both nearing “soaked through” and all. We waited at a bus shelter, and peered at a map again.
A note on San Francisco’s…er, colorful…homeless population: there are a lot of homeless people in San Francisco. There are also a lot of people in San Francisco who just seem to cultivate a homeless and destitute look. It is often impossible to tell these groups apart until you have made eye contact and been engaged in conversation. So we were both leery of the disheveled gentleman who took in our map and general sogginess and said, evenly, “You folks tourists?”
This particular gentleman followed that statement with helpful directions to Japantown rather than a request for money, and suggested we just walk the three or four blocks he said separated us from out destination. We thanked him and headed north again, per his suggestion. He was almost right. When, four uphill blocks later, we had not seen the bridge-walkway thing he had told us would mark the spot, I pulled the map out again. Too far east, too far north. Still.
Thank god for the picturesque surroundings and a big breakfast. We finally stumbled upon Japantown roughly an hour and change after getting off the damn cable car. Cold, wet, and hungry, we snapped some pics and then made a beeline for the bridgey-covered-mall thing the guy on the street promised, and inhaled giant bowls of udon and slightly smaller bowls of rice and unagi, then puttered around the shops. I hugged the largest Totoro I have ever seen, we took a picture of his namesake frozen yogurt stand (Japan and Zimbabwe share surnames, apparently) and when confronted with the pinkiest Sanrio explosion I’ve seen in some time, TLOML demurred, insisting entry would sully his manhood or similar. Fair enough. We moved on.
Shortly thereafter, we realized we had to make tracks to make our appointed dinner meeting with BFF and her hubs, who moved to the bay area a month ago, so we headed back to the hotel to dry off a little beforehand. Note to visitors of the King George Hotel staying in the west-facing room on the fifth floor: Sorry the hairdryer smells like feet, but I only brought the one pair of shoes and it was wet and cold that day. Onward.
We all wandered west, through the Tenderloin, toward some highly rated northern Indian grub. Along the way, we passed a needle exchange center, where TLOML ran into a friend he hadn’t seen since college years earlier. She’s a lawyer now, representing the org, and happened to be packing it in for the weekend. How weird is that, running into someone you once knew in a small town thousands of miles away? Tiny world!
We finally made it to Shalimar, and promptly packed ourselves as full of naan-y, saucy goodness as we were able. Trust me, we worked very, very hard at it. After, we headed to a bar for a drink apiece, save BFF, who is off the sauce due to no-doubt-adorably gestating BFF Jr. This, by the way, is a most exciting development, and I cannot wait to buy onesies with inappropriate slogans written on them for when the wee one makes his or her anxiously awaited appearance. CANNOT WAIT. I’m thinking something from this collection right here.
After making plans to meet up and enjoy more touristy excitements the next day, we parted company and TLOML and I crashed hard at the hotel. We pushed it to midnight, though. We’re goddamn rockstars.
Once TLOML realized there would be no Amber Rose in the flesh, we set off, up what felt like all of the hills, to find Chinatown. It seemed like a good place to start: visually stimulating, full of delicious foods. We picked a spot at random and ordered enough of the menu to feed a small family. Because what you need after a long flight is a salt extravaganza to really amp up the bloat factor.
Sated, we proceeded to crisscross the entire northeastern quadrant of the city in search of touristy delights. We marched up to Nob Hill and toured Grace Cathedral, including a quiet, rainy, meditative walk of the outdoor labyrinth. We tromped up and down side streets, wending our way up Russian Hill, then over to North Beach for a hike up Telegraph Hill to Coit Tower for photos, then back down and across to Fisherman’s Wharf for one perfect beer, a crab and some chowder.
We walked for roughly 6 or 7 hours that first day. You’ll understand why we thought maybe ending the day in our hotel room snuggled up with each other and some Ben & Jerry’s just felt right. Honest to god, we were in bed by 10.
Day one verdict: fantastic.
San Francisco. Home of hills, cable cars, and Rice-a-Roni. Memorable location of the First Vacation with The Love of My Life, hereafter TLOML.
Day 1: Rise at 4:30a, panic. Chicago has been experiencing unseasonably warm weather. San Francisco, on the other hand, is allegedly in the throes of the only real rainy patch it’s had all winter. I lurch sleepily around TLOML’s apartment applying clothing and complaining about outerwear. Taxi. Security. Boarding. Blur. We’re wheels up before 7.
The trip is relatively spontaneous, born of a Virgin America Groupon he spotted a few weeks back. Translation: a lot of the planning happened last minute. We’re seated two rows apart, both in middle seats. The most remarkable thing about my rowmates is that we all manage to sleep…ish…perfectly upright, none of us budges during the four-hour flight, and we manage not to say a single bloody word to each other the entire time. As good as it gets in economy.
TLOML and I reunite on the ground and head for the airport food. Quickly deciding it is insane to spend $5 each on plain coffee when you’re on a shoestring, we settle on granola bars and splitting a Five Hour Energy and make a beeline for BART. In no time, we’re downtown.
Unfortunately, this is where we realize we chose the wrong destination for our tickets, and are each $4.10 shy of escape from the station. Also, neither of us has a bill small enough for the stupid BART ticket machines, and the attendants do not make change. After 5 minutes spent enjoying our touristy humiliations, a station attendant permits me to exit long enough to break a twenny and come back to pay the appropriate fare to give us free.
Above ground, I learn two things: first, how important it is to keep a man with pecs the size of my head fed all the time on time, and second, that he must really love me, because I survived failing at the first. Well, I figured that out a week earlier when I tested his ENTIRE reserves of patience on some Sailor-Jerry’s-and-a-full-moon bullshit, but let’s stay on topic.
Blah blah omnidirectional rain with this hair? Blah hoodie shopping blah Old Navy fucklesticks and then it’s roughly eight hours since he ate a full meal and we are in Union Square with our luggage and he is hangry. It’s not really hilarious, but it is, because to keep from killing me he just sort of rumbles, “Woman, let’s get your shit and GO,” in his super-bass voice and looks at me huffily.
Early check-in at the King George hotel, Union Square. Small, but fantastic customer service, nicely located, and a steal. We drop our things and head out. In SF, it’s after 1p. We trudge, bellies rumbling, in search of food.
Along the way, I notice via street ads that Amber Rose is the new spokesmodel for Smirnoff Fluffed and Whipped and remark aloud, “Is that Amber Rose?” Once TLOML removes his foot from my back, which he was apparently planning to use to catapult himself toward the aformentioned bearer of this ass…
…I realize I should have been more specific, and that Wiz is doing me a solid and he doesn’t even know it.
We trudge uphill in what seems like every direction before locking onto our first target: lunch in Chinatown.