I headed out one night to a coworker’s party. Lily had the rare position of being a girl who knew about computers. Her much older ex-boyfriend invited her (and me by unknown invitation) to a party at “one of the cute Victorians on Duboce.” We walked up the stairs and I felt this acknowledgment, that I really did live in this gorgeous city and I got to walk up these beautiful set of stairs into a historic home that someone I knew could afford. My life would change forever!
Funny, because once I set inside it was like any party I’d ever been to. Tons of people in t-shirts and jeans, hoodies, standing around a keg in the back. Found out I actually knew one of the guys living there. They were a bunch of graphic designers from Skywalker Ranch, the LucasArts company up in Sonoma. He showed me his room and his huge Iguana, and I swear there were no dirty overtones to that. We walked outside onto a series of catwalks. Then it happened again, I felt part of that elite and hidden society. Two guys- one a landscaper, one a set designer- had purchase houses all interconnecting on a block, and took down the fences between yards. So you could walk inbetween the houses on elevated sidewalks, through beautiful fragrant vines and bushes, with the occasional art piece that was a commentary on San Francisco. Then there were just oddities, deer tracks on the slanted roof, a lawn chair near the chimney, and traditional bits like a coi pond in the very center.
Lily and I walked around and finally rejoined her friends. They all were men, dark hair, long, sipping beer and talking about computers. We prided ourselves on knowing what they were talking about, short little bursts of knowitallness, nothing like tech specs, but once in a while a configuration would land on the ground and someone would lift it up again and rejoin the conversation.
Lily’s ex was Tom, and Tom’s best friend was Paul. We ended up standing together and talking the entire time. He was friendly, especially since I was mildly intimidated by this aspect of Lily’s life. See, word was that Paul had been one of the few people who setup the original internet, and while I was fuzzy on the details, I noticed that guys deferred to him. They asked him questions and listened. He was so friendly and slightly intimidated by other people at the party, that I was constantly wondering if I had the right gossip lined up with the right person.