Turning 35, San Francisco, the Future
The first time I visited San Francisco I loved the hills. They steep enough that if you look down the street you get full view of every block. I always write: because you can see everything you will pass in advance, San Francisco is the only city where you can see the future.
Its ironic then, to have spent a the weekend before my thirty-fifth birthday there. In the last six months I've desperately needed to see the future. But, life is not San Francisco. Life does not give previews in easy, eastern glances.
The Saturday before my birthday, in San Francisco, Alistair and I had lunch near our hotel, checked in, then rushed out at two o'clock for the ceremony in the Headlands. It was a beautiful wedding. The ceremony took place in the corner of a field. There was a fog above us, wind, clouds. Five minutes before it started the clouds parted and the sun came out. Everyone danced till 10 o'clock that night. A shuttle bus took us on a dark, scenic drive over Golden Gate Bridge.
The next morning I had breakfast with Alistair and checked out of the hotel. I met up with Suni at her place (Suni is one of my writing group friends who moved to San Francisco for work). Our quiet morning developed into an idyllic afternoon. We started with a walk on a dirt path in Golden Gate Park. There were flowers to see and a lily pond and a Japanese garden. We took an elevator at the de Young to a viewing platform and saw the sprawling city below us. In one view the top of the Golden Gate Bridge peeked out from the park like the ears of a fox.
After lunch we took a car to see the Painted Ladies, then stopped for a coffee. I told Suni about the summer and the things missing from our texts, the little plot dips that have made up my life. It was nice to have her ear and her insights. "I wish I could give you that glimpse into the future," she said. But of course, no one can.
Closer to my redeye we drank Hungarian wine and lamented the end our day together. When Suni lived in New York we used to go to Central Park and museums and have the kind of Sundays like we were having that day. We never imagined that life would bring her to San Francisco, that I would have a wedding to attend, and that we would be walking in the park.
The lesson from that, and from this whole year: your plans are just ideas. Everything will change. Improbable is just a word we use to sleep soundly.