Sunday, August 9, 2009

please be sure all excess baggage is securely stowed

So here I am in San Francisco.

In a way it is like going home. Not so much the cable cars and city life here but the knowledge that I am once again in the Bay Area, I kind of know this city, and I spent two of the most difficult and growth-filled years of my life here.

Every time I come to San Fran I meet up with one of my college roommates. She has really been the only one I've kept in touch with since I left 2 1/2 yrs ago. And by kept in touch I mean we see each other when I come here on business and other than that we don't really talk much throughout the year.

We had planned on meeting for dinner at 6 last night. She text messaged me saying she was out front. I got out there and saw not just her but one of our other roommates (there were many), one with whom I considered myself to be very close during those formidable years. I have not seen her since the day of my last final. I knew she was living up here in Northern California but that's about it. We hadn't kept in touch either.

I'm not one of those people who loved college. For various reasons I often like to forget that those years existed. But the three of us sat in a pub last night drinking beer, eating, and catching up like a bunch of grown ups who hadn't seen each other in a decade. One is just out of a relationship, one is happily still involved with a guy she met two months before we graduated. They plan on having a baby next year, she threw out, so casually that we thought she was kidding. We talked about jobs, frustrations with jobs, grad school, new apartments, our old apartment, paying rent, paying dues, paying for choices we've made... City life. College life. Life.

I came away from the experience feeling a sense of happiness about it - which surprised me given the bruised ego and sadness I've felt whenever I've thought about the paths we all took back then and just how much mine differed at the time. And even though I didn't have break up or boyfriend stories to share we all came away from the experience last night knowing that for three girls who at once felt so overwhelmed we had made it where we wanted to be. For three girls who were once one another's family it felt once again like I was with family.

May I say that this was a pleasant surprise for a trip I thought would be filled with boredom, channel surfing, and a case of the "wish I was back home"s. Perhaps this is the beginning of seeing it all through a different lens. After a horrible day on Thursday it was nice to genuinely smile and laugh. It was nice that I really did feel like all my excess baggage was stowed completely under my feet. Pardon the horrible travel metaphor. The hotel shampoo seems to have seeped into my brain.

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