Lots of activity this weekend, a lot of living
This is a free post, like most of my posts. Please subscribe if you can afford/feel compelled. I’m thinking about doing a weekend diary again. I enjoyed writing this.
I did a lot this weekend and now it is Sunday night and I am sitting in the bathtub writing on a special bathtub desk after having watched the second episode of the new, ninth season of The Great British Baking Show. Tomorrow is Monday and this fills me with not quite dread but a sort of flat irritation. I am writing a very hard piece that I have been writing forever and the bad news is I have to get back to it as soon as I wake up and the good news is once I start and get hooked in and feel closer and closer to the finish line I will not be able to stop and then it will be dinner and we will be one day closer to another weekend.
I drove to San Francisco on Friday to see Luke Combs in concert. The drive would have been fine except my air conditioner, which I just paid a lot of money to have fixed, died again.
When I got to my hotel I had to valet my car — I mean, I didn’t have to, but they wouldn’t let you just park it yourself and after my sweaty drive I just wanted to shower and take a nap. “My car is disgusting,” I said to the valet, and he said, “That’s Ok, I’m also pretty disgusting too.”
My hotel room was on an air shaft and sounded like the inside of an airplane about to take off. I couldn’t relax at all with this noise. I put earplugs in. It was the same. I didn’t want to be a pain, and the friendly chatty clerk with perfect winged eyeliner and a sleek bun at the front desk had mentioned they were pretty full when I checked in. But I thought I might as well ask if I could move.
What I said to the front desk person was, “I bet you’re full and I don’t want to cause problems for the staff and I know the room is just loud because the entire lungs of this building are in that air vent and you can’t stop that but I would be stoked if I could move, no pressure.”
The clerk told me she let me move because I was nice. “You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar,” she said. My dad used to say this to me at least once a week when I was a kid and I hated it because it was true but it was also such bullshit. My new room was quiet and I was able to take a nap.
The concert was at a huge venue and they were checking vaccinations at the door and you were supposed to wear a mask. I wore one while they were checking my ID and vaccination card and then for about ten minutes inside the venue, but then really no one was wearing them and I hate wearing masks so I didn’t either, except in the bathroom, which I realize was arbitrary.
I went to the concert with a person that I barely know. I met them once, very briefly, at a panel talk about literature and Marx that was one of the last things I did before COVID. Now, I like literature and Marx as much as the next person, but all through COVID I thought about how it would have been better to have had a last outing that was a bit more exciting. No offense to anyone on the panel.
What I could not have known, however, is that by going to this literature and Marx thing and meeting this person for five seconds, I was laying the groundwork for having someone to see Luke Combs with 18 months later. I think I speak for both of us when I say we had a great time and had a lot in common. We both love country music, we both like to drink but not get wasted, and we had both discovered within the last five years that we were 1/4 Jewish and found this both exciting and ultimately meaningless.
On Saturday I had breakfast with someone I work for and his girlfriend. They served me the biggest bowl of fruit salad I’ve ever seen. We sat outside, talking over a jackhammer. He told me I should write a book about watches. I said that seemed like a reasonable idea. His girlfriend told us she’d been kidnapped twice but that it hadn’t been that bad. None of us are from this place, and we complained about it. I told them that a lot of people in San Francisco seemed utterly determined not to entertain you in conversation, and gave you the sense that if they did they’d be disappointed in themselves. Yes, the two of them said, this was exactly what it was like!
I drove home, five hours of sweating and traffic. I went to my friend’s house where I did a Peloton class, half assedly, then showered, and hosted a fairly large party, where, once again, I managed to enjoy myself but to wake up without a hangover.
After lunch with T. I went back to my friend’s for more Peloton. I tried a new guy, my first straight American male instructor. He looked exactly like my brother except for his kind of silly hair, and then he acted like him too, mouthing all the words to “Radar Love.” I showed my friend. “He looks exactly like my brother,” I said. “It’s kind of freaking me out.” She looked and I thought she was going to make fun of me, but she said, “Your brother is way hotter than him.” Then she reddened and gave a little shrug. “I think your brother is hot,” she said.
As I was getting ready to go home we were talking in her living room and a bird flew into her big picture window. I went outside, hoping to save it somehow, but could only stand over it as it died, watching its tail feathers flutter for a few seconds and then stop. Using a piece of junk mail I pushed the bird into a cardboard box. The bird was beautiful, blue and brown, with a sweet, hopeful face. I hope this experience finally makes me a vegetarian, I thought. I really hope this is the thing that finally does it.