Sitting at Grand Cafe on Thursday night with a visitor in town, we were in the corner booth, and she asked me what kind of social lives were in the City. Her English is usually quite good but she just got off of a long flight and was wiped on the 26th awake hour of her day, so I had to cut her some slack. It led me into a kind of self-effacing, bitter rant about the night life here. I used to go clubbing, I don’t anymore, I mainly just go out with one or two people to bars or restaurants. My life more and more consists of family dinners, meetings, and working.
I come by this “need to go out/be social” personality trait honestly. The LA lineage were all big parti-ers, from raunchy vodka-soaked weekends in Russian River to crazy Hollywood parties: in their house in Hollywood, my great-grand-pappy carved a circle in the wood floor, and made guests climb under the house- did I say that it was a costume party?- to climb into the circle, which was the center of the dance floor. This is the same great-gp who smoked “medicinal” marijuana every day at 5PM with the postman. He had four girls, was a master violin player, and bricklayer for UCLA. He was Welsh. My mom says he was handsome- but how do you tell? This nephew supposedly looks like him. Are these facts connected? Ha ha. (Yes- this is the Swedish mafia line).
We have a funny term in my family: FOMO. Fear Of Missing Out. This happens frequently with large families. Since I was the youngest, as I was falling asleep – had an earlier bedtime than everyone else, cruelty of cruelties- I would go to sleep hearing the laughter & good times of my siblings. Maybe this is why I can concentrate on writing so well in bars and cafes? It’s tough in North Beach where everywhere folks are having a good time, and you’re rushing to work, the bank, or shopping for an iron. I have to remind myself: they have boring lives in Vallejo/Novato/San Jose and this is their big night out…
One of my friebhors (friend/neighbors) back in the Mission told me, when I was complaining of nothing to do one night, “Anna, you know, people don’t usually go out every night.” What? Heresy! One aspect I really like in boyfriends is their outgoingness & social life. I remember finding this out about myself with a grammar school crush, and how he was so outgoing and funny. The other night hanging out with a… close friend… I remarked on how I loved to just hitch a ride on his social life. I don’t have to send out the emails, manage the responses, figure out logistics. He’s the one checking his phone, and thinking of so-and-so that would love to be here now, and determining where in the city would be a good place to get kabobs at 2am. (Answer: kabobistan on Jones).