Sunday, January 15, 2006

TALES OF THE CITY

San Francisco is quite pervy. It's beyond ecclectic. Thus far, my favorite unanimously common attribute about the people here is that, unlike in New York and Los Angeles and London, no one thinks that he or she is a celebrity, and no one really wants to be one. This is a bad city in which produce a reality television show. Unlike in Manhattan, the young population of San Francisco does not seem to have the annoying need to feel so fucking special all the time.

San Francisco has the worst transsexuals I have ever seen. And there are a lot of them, everywhere, walking the streets during mid afternoon. I'm sure the fact that many of them are so obviously crack and/or crystal addicts has a large portion to do with it, as they cannot afford the products at the Mac counter, and instead must steal from Rite Aid. The first night I was here, I saw four poorly made-up transsexuals. Three of them were on my flight. None of them even come close to resembling women, and most of them are minorities. The lower-class street drug addicts roam freely with the upper-class yuppies, very unlike the Disneyland-like neighborhoods that Manhattan continues to produce and remodel. When Awesome and I were here last June, we walked by City Hall in the middle of a Sunday afternoon and saw a bunch of lower-class city dwellers smoking crack in broad daylight, out of a foil pipe, each of them just relaxing in the sun on the curb of a major intersection.

San Francisco has a surplus of peepers. I've been going to the gym in Awesome's building every day since I got here. From one of the weight machines, I can look out the window at the high-rise building across the way and see at least three apartments with telescopes. In the building most visible from Awesome's windows, which is still a few blocks away, I can see one man who sits in front of his plasma flatscreen television all day and all night. He alternates between his white leather sofa and the bench press next to the sofa, but he is always there, every time I peek across the city. In another window, two floors up, there is another man who walks around in his blue or black or navy or dark gray boxer shorts, often times rubbing his big beer belly. He's not a large man, he just has a large belly, at least from what I can see. Although it is cold at night here, he switches from looking out the windows in his living room to standing directly on his balcony in his underwear. Two nights ago when he looked like he was fondling himself on his balcony while simultaneously clutching a pair of binoculars, he saw Awesome and me half-glancing in his direction. He turned out all his lights but we could still see the dirty silhouette of his porky belly and hand-stroking, obviously still focused on whatever apartment he was spying on in our building. I hope it was not ours.

San Francisco still has tons of wonderful freaks who live like they're still in the 70s, before the Bushes or AIDS or www.everything.com or before marijuana was a pop culture protest. And none of them are apologetic. But San Francisco also has a surprisingly large bunch of fratty partiers, particularly in the North Beach area, where Awesome and I went out last night with some of my friends. At a big horrible club that was really a big horrible bar with a big horrible DJ, I felt like I was back in Manhattan's Grammercy or Upper East Side neighborhoods, surrounded by New Jersey and Long Island guido and guido-ettes who never should have taken the train into the city that night. We left immediately and found a charming microbrewery with a funky jazz band strumming and blowing their instruments in front of a crowd of fascinating local oddballs.

San Francisco has clarified for me that my clubbing and drugging days are long over, as I have not had a desire for a couple of years now (on the whole, at least) to live that self-destructive lifestyle. I was born a yuppie and I will die a yuppie, whether or not I wanted to admit this in my early 20s. But thankfully since I am a fucking weirdo who does not relate to 99.9% of humanity, San Francisco has told me that it is okay to be this way and to care more about life experience and humanity than about 401Ks and investments. At least for now.

San Fransisco has a lot of scam artists, as I have witnessed and am told. Today I helped a friend move out of her apartment at a second's notice when she discovered that her roommates had been pocketing her money and not paying the rent, after only less than three months of living there. Instead of being a club kid or a peeper or a shaker, I am now a mover. But all my friends here are classy, and she moved from a gorgeous apartment in Hayes Valley that resembles the building from "Melrose Place" and into an even nicer house in the Castro. For my moving generosity, my wonderful friend, who is a born and bred Brooklynite, with whom I often played in Manhattan, took me to dinner at the best sushi restaurant I have ever been to. When we left the restaurant, we saw a scam artist rush into a bar, perform a long monologue about how she was having her period, and then steal three ladies' purses as she dashed into the bathroom (of course we reported her to her offenders). Even all the crack addicts are performers.

San Francisco is making me fall in love with it, but hasn't worked for Awesome yet. I've been here for just a few days and have already met nearly as many people as I keep in contact with in New York and London. Plus I already knew quite a few SF folks, so that helps. Meanwhile, my poor boyfriend has had to work his newly uncomfortable 12-hour night shifts and sleep all day, and is unable to appreciate the city. Yet. He has no problem meeting and maintaining new people; but I am the social climber, and my unwillingness to be plastic and overly perky works magically in this city. As a magician, I will lovingly give Awesome all of my friends when I leave this city, and hope (and know) that he will also find his niche, temporary as it may be. He will soon have a week off where I shall show him my new findings, and discover more with him.

My San Fran friends are now all plotting for me to move here. My old New York pals say, "When are you moving back?" My London crowd questions, "You're not leaving, are you?" I am playing Musical Chairs, only with cities instead of seats. I always dreamt that my life would be like this, and now, at 27, I just don't know what to do. My elders condemn me when I say, "I feel like I'm 40," while my younger friends cannot understand.

In London, I have no insurance, and I do not need it. I only have one British credit card, one set of house keys to a home I do not own, and no investments. Whenever I return to New York and Dallas, my friends and acquaintances talk about their new 401Ks and with whom they invested during the last quarter. I list the 15 countries I went to last year and they have no relateable response, but can all compare their Bloomingdales receipts and the game plans their stockbrokers told them to follow in the next quarter. I do not give a flying fuck about the new boutique that just opened on the Lower East Side, and am appalled that I once did. I do not want to hear what everyone wore and ordered when they scored reservations at the new bed-bar in the Meatpacking District. I would much rather listen to the latest nasty, aloof cock-sucking story of the transsexual streetwalker and why he feels the need to smoke and snort his way into getting hormone supplements.

In San Francisco, I am questioning how and if I will continue having an 'alternative' lifestyle without conforming to social norms. Especially with a monogomous life partner, with whom I realize and re-realize I am so in love every time we cuddle up at night, or awaken pretzled together in the morning. I have so many decisions to make in the next six months. That whole expression "the ball's in your court" does not really make sense for me. I am the fucking ball, bouncing not only from court to court, but from league to league, team to team, and game to game. But, like, do I have to choose a game? Especially in America? Or can I just keep playing every game until I get tired of being drafted? I'm not ready to retire from anything just yet.

QUOTE OF THE DAY:
Good judgment comes from experience, and often experience comes from bad judgment. - Rite Mae Brown