Our arrival into San Francisco was a bit anti-climatic. We had to save our limited funds, had a rude awakening to the fact that the rents were the same in the city as in NY (at 24 I did not do the research that I would do now) and that we would probably need to live in town outside of San Fran or in a crap apartment in the city. I wanted the beach since that was a BIG attraction in this move. After much searching, one huge fight where I left Gary when he went to get a burger, and he had to explain to Elli how he had no idea where I was (I took a bus...am a NY kid I find public transportation) while she explained that my Mother would kill him slowly if he did not find me, oh yes kiddies this in B.C. (before cell phones). The motel we were staying at, sharing a room among the 4 of us to save money only increased our need to find a place quickly.
Our apartment was in Pacifica - small town outside of San Francisco, a block away from the beach. The beach with water so cold you had to wear a wet suit to even attempt swimming in, with a shark net that made it so not inviting, but whose waves I could hear outside our window as I went to sleep and whose smell I could inhale even now. It was a small apartment and my determination to not work for a year lasted about a month due to boredom. My job was mindless but pleasant and my drive home amazing...still the best I ever had. We had limited funds so we found 2 for 1 drink special nights in the city, free food and wine tasting dinners and our favorite buy 1 get one free dinner on Tuesdays walking distance from our place at a great Italian place owned by people from Brooklyn! We walked a lot on the street near the beach, especially before our tv came and we only had Tom Snyder on the radio (NY voice) to keep us entertained. The thing that may seem obvious but was not until we got there is that California is FAR from New York and the time zone thing makes it hard to call people when you most need them. The pace of San Francisco is considered fast by West coast people ( I was easily identified as an East Coast person by the fact that I walked up an escalator and the aggravated tapping I found myself doing at check out counters where it should have taken 1 min to be done and who cares why the woman bought that brand of F*&king cookies - throw my change at me and get it done quickly any day). The mini tremors reminded us of the fact that this area had a little earthquake problem that we would not want to be in one to complete our authentic experience. I must say I love the people who made the trip to see us out there. However, I missed my friends, my family and equally if not more some days New York.
So we packed up our meager belongings, drove our cars following one another via a different route and drove cross-country back. I am still reminded of how small my own existence seemed when looking at the Grand Canyon. We went through Texas where holy shit everything is BIG - and they do not want to seem to talk about 1963 and the grassy knoll at all in Dallas. We were in Texarkana when Bill Clinton was first elected president and went to the govs mansion in Arkansas to see Billy - we were not allowed in but I still have a pine cone from the lawn. I remember the moment the Manhattan skyline came into view, Billy Joel was on the radio singing "New York State of Mind" weirdly enough and my heart skipped a beat and I have never felt more at home than at that moment. New York is my adopted city but it is the city of my soul - we are weirdly connected and I love it for all it is as well as for all it is not. I still like San Francisco and my move there, especially the drives to and from, was something that I cherish. It also reminded me that home is where the heart is and mine has a beep, hey move the F out of the way, taxi driver pacemaker made in NY, NY!
I've seen all the movie stars
In their fancy cars and their limousines
Been high in the Rockies under the evergreens
But I know what I'm needing
And I don't want to waste more time
I'm in a New York state of mind ...Billy Joel