HIWDtS: Bye-bye, lady.

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Every once in a while, I encounter the N-Judah Greeter. He is a sweet man who says hello and waves to everyone who boards the train, and says goodbye and waves to everyone who leaves.

Most people avoid catching his eye, because that is his signal that it is okay to wave and talk. He spends a lot of the time in suspended animation, looking expectantly at each new passenger, hoping for eye contact. As soon as the person looks up, he waves and exclaims, “Hello!” Women get a “lady” tacked on the end. If the person does not respond, he repeats himself a few times, then stops and moves on to the next person.

If you, like me, respond, then there is a short script:

“Hello, lady!”
“Hello!”
“Where are you going?”
“Home!”
“OK, lady!”

On the way out, there is a similarly enthusiastic send-off. If it happens to be a Friday, as it was when I last saw the Greeter, he waves and says, “Bye-bye, lady,” then adds, “Have a good weekend!”

The Greeter has a thankless job. Because he is friendly on Muni, he is mostly treated like a hostile stranger. I have learned to take my enthusiastic greetings and send-offs where I can get them, because I never know when it will be the last time I see a place.

Except now I know. I know when my last Muni ride will be. I know when I will close the front door of my home for the last time, when I will drive to SFO for the last time, when I will get on a plane with my bags and my cats and fly over this giant place to a dream.

My beloved FunkyPlaid and I are moving to Scotland. Now that I can type that, it is real to me. He leaves in just over two weeks to get settled and start his PhD program, and I leave in just under two months with Zen and Torgi in tow.

Almost eight years ago, FunkyPlaid made this trip alone. I drove him to SFO and dissolved at the security checkpoint. I joked with him the other day that I won’t be crying this time, but who am I kidding? The moment is too big for me not to cry.

This departure is a culmination of so much planning, hard work, imagination, and passion, bolstered with support from our dear friends and family, and sprinkled with a bit of good luck and great timing. Most days it is difficult for me to picture the end result because there is still so much to do, and I find my motivation in knocking things off to-do lists. But every once in a while, I look up from the cardboard boxes and think of the adventure about to begin.

Bye-bye, lady.

[box type=”shadow”]I ride a shuttle to work. It is a really nice shuttle and the first time I have ever had this luxury, causing me to overthink pretty much every aspect of it, especially where to sit. And now I overthink where I decide to sit in every open-seating situation, so I’m writing about it in a series called How I Decide Where to Sit.[/box]

29 thoughts on “HIWDtS: Bye-bye, lady.

  1. Anonymous

    Well I shall miss you because you are one of my best Sunset correspondents, but if you have to leave SF, Scotland is a darn nice place to be. Good luck and bye bye, lady! 🙂

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  2. I will miss you both so, so much, but I know there are great things ahead for you! I will not say “bye-bye”, but I will say “see you again”. I already cannot wait to visit.

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  3. Oh my goodness, that is SO freaking AWESOME!  I trust that you will continue to maintain an online presence even from Scotland?

    I’ve always wanted to visit San Francisco, and hoped that if I made it there someday we could meet for tea or dinner.  Scotland is also on my list of places I want to visit someday, and if I get there while you’re still there, the same hope would still hold.

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    • Both FunkyPlaid and I will be online as usual, regardless of where we are in the world. 🙂 And if you are ever in Scotland, please do let me know. It’d be lovely to finally meet up!

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  4. Elea Chang

    I’m happy for you and a bit sad at the same time. Best wishes for this exciting next chapter of your lives! At least with the internet, keeping in touch is much easier than ever before.

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  5. Kevbo

    What? I knew that FunkyPlaid was no good! Taking our cygnoir away from us! Things just keep getting worse here!

    Don’t go! It’s all soccer hooligans there and men not wearing underwear under kilts who really should.

    Do they even have teh Internets over there? I don’t think they do. If I don’t bother to look it up and find out something to the contrary, then it’s true!

    I’m canceling my tickets to SF then. (I didn’t have any but you don’t know that.)

    “Hello, lady!”

    “Hello!”

    “Where are you going?”

    “Scotland!”

    “WTF, lady?”

    Safe travels when they happen, Halsted!

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  6. Anonymous

    Wow!  That is such great news.  You are going to absolutely love living there!

    We’ve wondered how we could make it happen for ourselves, but have yet to find a way.  I’m so happy you’ve found the magic combination for yourselves.

    Keep writing and take LOTS of photographs of your time there to share with us, please.

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  7. Tanya Roth

    Congrats on the impending move! I was in Scotland for a week in May/June. If you guys ever need a get away, check out Crubenbeg Guest House in Cairngorms National Park. The owners are delightful. But life in Scotland – can’t wait to read all your new adventures!

    And if I understand correctly, FunkyPlaid is pursuing the doctorate in history, yes? As a newly-minted PhD in history, I wish him all the best!!

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    • Thank you for your well-wishes and the tip on the guest house! I am very excited to explore the country, and hope we get lots of chances to visit places just like the one you mention.

      FunkyPlaid is indeed pursuing his doctorate in history. Congratulations on your massive accomplishment!

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  8. Stephanie Lamphere

    Hey ‘Sted – I know you have been looking forward to this for a long time… I wish you the best of luck and thanks for letting us live abroad vicariously through your writing (yes, I am still skulking around reading occasionally, though I don’t have much to say, really). Safe travels to you both! Sláinte!

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