There was a satirical New Yorker cartoon framed and hung in our home before it got taken down and packed, the hole it left neatly patched and painted over. I’d almost forgotten about it until the other day when I noticed a bare section of wall where it used to live. The caption, under a sketch of some people sipping wine around a table, was “Do wine writers suffer and all that?”
I always found it sort of poignant—and not because it hung in the bathroom for four of the 7+ years. This blog was always a place where I poured my heart out, and pleaded with (hounded, begged, bribed) him to be the slightest bit present. “Two lines and a photo,” I’d suggest. “Two lines.”
Pretty much sums it up.
It’s also no secret I tend to write more when I’m in a good bit of pain and suffering, which didn’t used to be the case at all. In fact, during the purge before republishing this blog, I found a lot of pure silliness circa 2009. Pop quizzes about what to do when you stumble on a pile of cat barf, bits of conversation I’d overheard in offices, things he said in his sleep. And I sort of found myself wondering, “Where’d that girl go? What did the world do to her?”
I’ve been out to SFO so many times over the last few years, in a variety of capacities, it’s kinda crazy—like I’m a glutton for punishment. Let’s see how many times I can revisit, reexamine and reevaluate my foreshadowing of a honeymoon that should have been sounding clanging warning bells in my head. (This post, 2 days by the Bay, was also poignant AF.)
However, I don’t tend toward textbook sentimentality. Never have. My subconscious is way sneakier. So being out there isn’t the hard part, the navigating it on my own is—with an empty home back home. That’s the key difference, and the aggravating part that manages to take the fun out of all the rest of it. Enter whiskey.
This was an excellent work trip that yielded some really great insights and in-person introductions and a chance to explore a few new SFO neighborhoods I hadn’t been in before—Hayes Valley, Alamo Park (Full Hizzle), to name a few. I also trucked back to Fillmore Street to stop in Rag & Bone and Joie for human interaction with salespeople. (I’ve learned spending money is the best way to entertain yourself when you’re traveling alone.)
Although, this was all without socks and in 92 degrees, so I spent all but the first 2 hours of this trip with my feet completely covered in bandaids. Hayes Valley was a cool little neighborhood, guys. I had an excellent whiskey and some steak tartar at Absinthe Bistro & Bar, and earlier a couple of beers with teardrop floaters and house made potato chips at Two Sisters Bar & Books. Yes, I cried at a bar by myself during happy hour. It was pretty liberating, though—AND it entitled me to a second helping of french onion dip, so don’t cry for me, Argentina.
The team moseyed up to Sonoma for some more meetings and non-work-related things. More potato chips (my chip intake alone would render this trip a smashing success, because they give those out in first class, you guys. That’s a lot of miles to cash in for a $.75 bag of kettle chips) in a vineyard, dinner at Bistro Don Giovanni, and some comatose jet lag sleeps and we were on to the last day.
Didn’t walk out with this; did walk out wearing a new t-shirt, though, because I neglected to pack more than one pair of jeans and was sweating through the shirt I’d been in for 10 hours. Glamorous!
Here’s a huge corkscrew at Don Giovanni’s, where the octopus is from heaven above.
Just like that, it was time to head home. I’d flown out in a brand new A320 with sharklets and power outlets and every bell and whistle, then I flew back on an ancient A320 with no power outlets and no love, which meant I could only check Neko Atsume briefly over Utah then was resigned to just scoring wistful moments out the window with Roxy Music and Kanye West.
Just as I was descending into Virginia, I got a dispatch from CW with a photo of Eli atop his chest. They were just relaxing at home, waiting on me. I realized there would be lights on in the house when I got back, and someone to welcome me home.
What had moments earlier felt like being lost somewhere over the Rocky Mountains, adrift between then and now, felt more like heading home—and leaving a lot of other stuff behind.