09-21-04: missed connections

Well, one month is almost up; I leave to go back to Delaware in two days. Nutty. I have so many choices to make in the next few days, and I can either just sit back and let the universe make the decisions for me, or I can get off my ass and *do something* to choose where I end up.

Do I move to San Francisco? What for?

Do I go back to Delaware? Will I just resent that place more once I'm back and hanging with my fantastic friends at the same dumb-ass bar we go to every night?

But what more am I looking for, anyway? If I lived in San Fran, am I thinking my life is going to be this perfect happy thing?

If a train departs Grand Central Station at 2:48pm and travels west at 60 MPH...

While John and I were walking back from Indian buffet today, we were talking about where I'd live if I moved here. Does it make more sense for me to live in some hip and funky neighborhood, or does it make more sense for me to stick in this area because it's slower and more my pace? Will it become too much of an effort for me and John to see each other if I live all the way on the other side of town? (And if it is, what's that saying?) Does it bother me that the old Russian and Asian ladies, as interesting-looking as they are, never smile at all? Is the super-happy Javacat barista with the flower in her hair enough to fulfill my happy quotient?

I first noticed this non-smiling thing when I was in Trader Joe's on Geary. Granted, TJ's is filled mod hipsters and not eastern bloc elders... but either way, they don't smile. They don't say excuse me when they brush against your back because the aisles are so small, they don't give that knowing "we're all in this together" grin when they're trying to grab a jar of wasabi mustard from in front of you. I hate it. They say New Yorkers are rude, but I find them to be quite gracious. It's these folks out here that are rude, or maybe just too self-absorbed to acknowledge that there's another person in the store with them. Anyway, after battliing the TJ's crowd for 1/2 hour, I got up to the checkout line. The guy working the register was around my age. As he'd make eye contact with each new customer in his line, there was this glimmer of hope he had that maybe the customer would have something to say. They didn't, so he just rang them up, bagged their stuff and said his gratuitous "have a good night" which was met with a grunt as the customer grabbed their bags and left. But as soon as I got up there, I smiled at him without even thinking about it, and BAM, we started talking. We both lit up. I bagged the groceries and we joked about it. We had a great rhythm to our banter... it was witty, but thoughtful. I could tell if we went for coffee there probably wouldn't be a lull in the conversation, but it wasn't like we were trying to impress each other... we just clicked. It was effortless. At one point we said something that made us laugh out loud, and I thought "Wow, I've really missed making those connections." I could see he was thinking the same thing.

So yeah, I make my own happiness. But out here, I feel like I've had to generate enough happiness not only for myself but for everyone else around me. John said that I should make it my mission to get the residents of Inner Richmond to smile. That's very noble, but just trying to get a few people to show some positive energy has exhausted me. I feel broken, in a sense... beaten, extinguished. I shouldn't have to pull teeth to get some joy reflected back my way with some kind of consistency. Maybe I do need to get a dog.

Maybe I just miss having a life. This month of having limited human interaction has taken its toll, I think. John rocks, don't get me wrong, but man can't live on bread alone if you know what I'm sayin'. I looked on my calendar and it's pathetically bare. For the whole month I've been out here, there is one (1) activity, which was scoping out Anna's early music group at Stanford last Tuesday. Take a look at any other month and it's often double-booked. In the "grass is always greener" battle, I think I'd rather take being too busy and wishing I had time to be still, rather than being stagnant and wishing I had something to do. I have nothing to talk about, nothing to contribute, no energy, no vigor, no inspiration, nothing to light a fire under me other than my wanderings up and down Geary to the produce stands and through the park just to get out of the house. I think if I had to do this month over again, I would have gotten on craigslist earlier, I would have brought a guitar with me, and I would have worked harder to find a choir, and I would have taken a class. I mean, it's just a month so I can't be expected to have this huge social structure and change the world, but those small steps would have kept my sanity a little more intact.

So, in job-related news, there's this: I talked to ISI last week and they told me that the gig I've been holding out for since July is gonna be on hold until the client makes up their mind for a start date. ISI apologized up and down for stringing me along for 3 months and said that they're just as frustrated as me (somehow I think not... they at least have an income). Anyway, while John and I were at lunch, ISI called to tell me about a "a consulting gig for a couple months" they'd like to submit me for at Childrens Hospital of Pennsylvania (CHoP); apparently they need some assistance putting together their IT support deparment methodology. The good news is I can do this job in my sleep; I have a methodology practically written already as part of my portfolio (in my bungholio with dee oleo). ISI asked for an updated copy of my resume so they can submit me for the position, and I'm pretty confident I'll get the job if CHoP is committed to ISI. I've also been submitted for a senior project management job at BankOne to assist with their big merger via another contracting company, and I am also fairly sure I'll nail that, too since I know the person who manages the project managers for the merger... but ideally, I wouldn't take that gig so much. The nice thing about the CHoP gig is that it would get me into Philly so I'd feel a bit more like I was someplace funky as opposed to mutating near the Edgemoor plant. I think the jump from San Fran to Bellefonte is going to be a pretty harsh transition, and tempering it with some Philly might be good... otherwise I would wind up moving to SF in haste. The other good news is that CHoP is not a forever gig... it's just consulting, which means I airdrop in for a surgical strike and then go home... it's not like an 8-5 every day for the rest of your life sort of thing. If I took this job, I'd probably feel less tied down which is really key for me right now. I'm afraid of going back to DE and just starting some full-time job and forgetting all about SF; otherwise, what would have been the point of the exercise?

The point of the exercise was to gather data. And I think I have all the data I need.