Saturday, June 16, 2007

Excitement-Eating in California

"...the Fitzgeralds did not seek ordinary pleasures. they wanted something unusual to happen, some act that they might not even understand. Zelda had never seen a young man who loved excitement, antics, outrageous happenings as much as she did, perhaps more."
- The Women of Montparnasse, The Americans in Paris
by Morrill Cody and Hugh Ford

Zelda Fitzgerald described her youthful, heedless life as excitement-eating. Zelda was a terrible flirt and men like Hemingway got pissed when she didn't deliver.

Zelda was a girl after my own heart, leaving Scott to go to her own set of parties, competing with him for attention and trying to become a ballerina late in life. She ate much excitement, she had her fill and some helpings from other people's plates as well. She was an excitement-glutton.

Let's not think about the fact that she lived out her later, less-excitement-filled years in a loony bin, abandoned by Scott, until she was burnt up in a fire that is. Loony bins lock you into your room at night so if a fire breaks out...Shudder.

After 7 days of excitement-eating in Northern California, I am ready to gobble Pepto Bismo, but also, ready to take on my next set of tasty tasks. Chomp, chomp, You see, things are afoot and it looks like I may be Stuck in Vermont for a good long while. Oh boy! Slurp, munch!

More than anything, I am just so damn happy, and so dang lucky! Lucky to have such lovely and talented and thoughtful friends and happy to have been able to see so many of them in flesh and blood, face to face. I'm not worthy. God, I miss 'em something terrible.

And oooh, the landscapes, the majesty, San Francisco, the Bay Area, they never cease to amaze me, and when you combine 'em with the people, well, YUM: cheese and baked goods and massive renovation in North Berkeley, heavenly meatballs in Piedmont with Robin, crazy views from Sarah's bird's nest in the Fillmore...

...a picnic lunch at Fort Mason overlooking Alcatraz, never ending sushi boats in Japan Town with Danny, the lizard-like shapes of over-lapping freeway overpasses, Hawaiian drinks with Jeff and Robin and an active volcano, a gang of school kids in the Marina...

...the nose-bleed SF hills that leave you worried you might tip over, the red bridge looming on the horizon from Lev's convertible, Market Street after dark falls, Lemondrops underneath the Bay Bridge with Sarah, a sudden burst of bougainvillea (ab0ve with Miss Jackson)...

...lying on the grass outside the De Young with Travis, a drunken meal in the Mission with Renee, Joanne and Jeff, a 50s Brit girl band in a packed club, bubbly in an Albany backyard with strawberries, Sue and Jen, ice cream on a Friday night near Dolores Park and an art show in Margaret's apartment.

Everything is so big and impressive and colorful in California, even a simple mural in a pee-infested alleyway in the Mission leaves an impression on a country mouse like me.

It all makes me feel so small and awe-struck. It is almost too much, too beautiful to be real. California dreaming seems more accurate, reality has no place in those surreal landscapes.

I spent much of my vacation marveling quietly to myself and savoring these awesome fluttery feelings whilst riding on BART trains, the 38 Geary bus or in my friend's Bugs, Minis and Miatas.

My love affair with California is not over yet. I think I saw sides of her that I never knew existed, little corners of her personality that were obscured when I lived inside her gates.

I plan to visit Cali at least once a year, so there VT, you will just have to accept that my heart will always belong to San Fran Sissy. No offense. I love you both equally. And as everyone who carded me noticed, "You look so happy in your license picture!"

"That's right," I said and then I told them the story of my recent move to VT and how shocked I was when the people at the DMV were NICE in Vermont, chatty even, laid back!

Unlike the Oakland DMV where you knew that any moment someone might snap, break out of a long line of angry people and start shooting, and that it might be you who pulls the trigger.

"So THAT is why I am smiling! Because VTers are nice." My little VT story. I swear, I told that to about 5 strangers in Cali this trip. Did they care? I think the girl at the Mac counter may have been listening...

More Cali blogs to come, pictures a plenty even if I did manage to resist bringing my video camera. But look at this here, a Castro collision of Junk Thieves and Deadbeats over tea as chronicled by Monsieur Thief.

IS it me or do I look like I am about to EAT him in this pic? I got carried away with my excitement-eating, as usual. Gobble, gobble.

Most importantly of all, the main reason for my trip, to SURPRISE the SHIT outta Jeffrey Raymond at his 40th birthday party as planned by his ultra amazing hubbie Charlie. Well, total success.

After a morning of sky diving, the boys returned to their NEW house (yes, apparently it is still possible to buy a home in SF!?) to a room full of well-wishers. I thought Jeff might screech bloody murder and run down the street screaming (I would have) but no, he did the gracious thing and entered the house to talk/hug/shower love on people.

Jeff is not much for birthdays, surprises, attention or large groups of people. So he did an amazing job of hosting, even after Charlie went to bed. What a swell 40 yr old guy.

I love you Jeffrey! And damn you for looking so young and vibrant and putting the rest of us ol' codgers to shame! Can we sit on a porch and whittle when our excitement-eating days are through!??!

And in closing, a word from Dashiell Hammett's The Maltese Falcon, which, I must add, takes place in SF and is my current HOT read:

"Well don't dynamite her too much, what do you think of her?"

"Sweet! And you telling me not to dynamite her."
Archer guffawed suddenly without merriment.

.... "Where Bush Street roofed Stockton before slipping downhill to Chinatown, Spade paid his fare and left the taxicab. San Francisco's night-fog, thin, clammy, penetrant, blurred the street."


Undead Molly said...

I realized reading this that I feel personally flattered and pleased when you say nice things about Vermont - as if you were talking about me!

No, it's not because I secretly think you were talking about me. It's because I do adore Vermont too and it is indeed a part of me. I'm just happy when someone else sees in it what I see.

Glad you're back! Can't wait to hear all about your trip!

Junk Thief said...

A great post of a great trip! That women of Paris book looks like something I need to track down.

Was the '50s Brit girl band the Pipettes by any chance? I had meant to mention them to you because I had a conflict that prevented me from seeing them at the Rickshaw Stop. I would have sold my soul to see them sing "Pull Shapes" live. I adore those gals, esepcially spunky Riot Girl Becki who could pass for a British Deadbet Club member.

Eva the Deadbeat said...

YAY! I love VT too Molly! i am pretty packed full of love these days, I will probably have to barf to clear out my system! But really, I do think this is a lovely state and ESPECIALLy cause it houses the Undead Molly! Looking forward to catching up tonight!

Mr Thief! YES, it was the Pipettes! I lucked out and my friend Renee's BF gave me his ticket - too nice, eh! and they were awesome! too bad i was SO pooped after a looong day in the sun DRINKING (starting at 2pm!!!). Pull Shapes was AWESOME (they do dance moves!?!) but I thought they were saying else! Which was is Becki? Brown hair or glasses or bleached? I loved them all!

Eva the Deadbeat said...

PS AND Renee bought me a red striped Pipettes t-shirt! Happy day!!!

Junk Thief said...

Oh, Eva, I am SOOOO jealous. Becki's the one with the glasses and those funky dance moves. I love them all too, but Becki's the spunkiest. (I know, how pathetic for someone my age to know so much about a sily little girl band.)

Drinking at 2 p.m.? Child, you are becoming the new Anita Berber! You're sure to shake 'em up in prim and proper New England.

Anonymous said...

Hey eva,
Greetings from the 'roo Today I saw the off the charts cute regina spector. who managed to charm the filfty unwashed masses with just her piano skills, whitty lyrics and girlish charm. Sad to say that I missed Fiest AND FRANZ. But tommorow is the joint freak parades of the flaming lips and the candy cane children.
I so glad you had a great time in san fran. I met two really nice vermonters here. You guys are just like angels spreading good will all over the world.
take care sweety

tonci said...

i'm really glad you had a good time in california, and thanks gor giving me a new perspective of it. i had always thought of california as kind of artificial and plastic,but i did like san francisco though.
good to have you back!

Eva the Deadbeat said...

Junk Thief: Check out this nasty review of the Pipettes! I mean I never! And I am totally with you, Becki is THE one! She is so spunky and sassy and lively. The other two are uber adorable as well but Becki stole my heart!

Oh my, I am a 33 yr old obsessed with the Spice Girls so perhaps we can start a Pathetic Old Teeny Bopper Club!? ;) And as for the daytime booze, watch out Kiki, I am on your heels!

Tony: HAPPY BIRTHDAY (belated)! Hope you are having a great time in Bonaroo and if you get a chance, go say hi to Cccome! They are a Burlington band and some of my Spielpalast pals are performing with them. In fact, I almost went too but choose Cali instead! Glad you saw Regina and that she charmed the people! Listening to your mix CD and loving it!

Tonci: So nice to hear from you and YES, Cali has some very good bits to it (many of them in Northern Cali but I am biased!). And when you begin your travels, SF is definitely worth a stop! The ocean, the views, the food and the majesty are all worth it! And I plan on making it out to Split one of these days so BEWARE!!

When do you start your blog? I want to see your town and hear about what an average day in the life of Tonci is like!

It is good to be back! I like being stuck in VT!! xoxo

Anonymous said...

you should totally try to go next year. And if the white stripes come any where near vermont.You owe it to yourself to go. seriously amazing life affiming stuff.
I didnt see ccome but i love the name it's either a call community involement or sexually preversity or maybe both. Brillent.
take care
ps I had a great birthday. 34 is that not that bad.

ps 2 I'm glad you love the mix cd

tonci said...

i was thinking of taking a few pictures of my town and sending them to you these days, as for my blog, it's not coming along so great as i thought it would. i had a bunch of exams this month, and i found a job for this summer, also i need to take my drivers exam and i have this scool trip to spain. and, best of all, my cousins from montreal and vancouver are coming here for a holiday this summer.
that could all be a great blog material, i just don't know if i'll catch the time to start one this decade. i'll try but can't promise anything :)
and besides, i'm getting a vcam soon for being such a good, capitalism trained, obedient nerd.
hope you don't think of me as less of a deadbeat now. i promise to ditch everything and lay back as soon as i get into college :)

digibudi said...

those pictures are sooooo wonderful..!!
I love your curly hair playing with the wind and sunshine.. it's so 'Hair'! Good morning Starshine..

Eva the Deadbeat said...

Tonci! Not to worry, I am one of the hardest working deadbeats i know so membership is open to you always! even if you are a good capitalist!?! what is a vcam?

and Spain, ooh la la! as much as i would lvoe to hear about your adventures, i'd rather you go out and LIVE your life than blog abou it all day. but send pics if you ever get a chance! and have a good time with your cousins! and take some time OFF for summer!

Nikolaas: "How can people be so heartless, you know I'm hung up on you, easy to be cruel, easy to say no..." do you know that song? it is my favorite one from Hair. I saw Hair at the Castro in SF once and SANG all the songs out loud! hearts! xoxox

Tony: 34 is grand! glad the White Stripes kicked some ass! sounds like Bonaroo was killer!

tonci said...

vcam is supposed to be a video camera :))
i thought you called it that.
i might even start a vlog. that's always better.