Tag: Scotland

HIWDtS: Bye-bye, lady.

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]

domino effect

I gave up and ordered a new camera battery charger. The old one must be somewhere, but I have no time before our upcoming trip to Scotland to sort through all of my boxes. Believe me, there will be some serious purging of useless belongings happening when I return.

My handy countdown widget tells me that only 23 days remain until our trip. It is so paltry to say that I am excited to see this beloved country, this heart-home of my beloved, and to meet and re-meet friends far away. I am beyond excited. Every time I read a page in a guidebook I start bouncing in my chair and have to put it down.

I know that no small part of my excitement stems from a frantic need to be Not-Here for a short time. Living in San Francisco has become exhausting, and because this is such an amazing city I know my fuse must be particularly short.  I have not had a proper vacation, even a weekend getaway, in almost a year.  I also admit some weariness around the subject of American politics.

So I avoided the topic as much as possible over the weekend.  FunkyPlaid and I actually had an entire weekend to ourselves, and it was excellent, only marred by the news of David Foster Wallace’s death. Others have been much more eloquent than I could be, than I have tried to be multiple times tonight in eulogy.

This perfectionist phase of writing silence does not suit me. In part, I am paranoid because I know that not everyone reading this thinks well of me, and so instead of inciting critique for whichever turn of phrase I keep silent.  We then encounter the usual “you can’t control what other people think of you” argument, which leads me quickly to the “yes but why NOT” denial, usually appended with “especially when I haven’t done anything to THEM” tantrum.

That doesn’t matter. None of it matters. What you think of me, what I think of you — in the grand and happy quilt of meaning, we’re not even stitches.  I don’t write here to be loved; I write here because I am compelled to connect through words. If our connection involves your loathing or disdain, so be it.  It is what it is, and nothing more.

And to think this all began with a lost piece of technology.

grateful for travel

I can hardly sit still long enough to write this entry — today FunkyPlaid and I bought our tickets for our trip to Scotland this autumn!  We will be there for just over two weeks, and it will be my first time in Scotland.  FunkyPlaid lived there while he earned his graduate degree in Scottish history, and he has been there many times, so I will have an excellent guide.  My visit to Scotland is also laced with emotional symbolism; FunkyPlaid and I spent two rollercoaster months getting to know each other before he moved to Edinburgh, and I was more than a little envious of his big adventure.  Existing in Edinburgh with him will bring that part of our history full-circle.  It will also be a litmus test to see if I can stand to live there in the future when FunkyPlaid moves back for his doctorate, although truthfully I can stick it out anywhere for a few years.

I am so grateful for the ability to and predilection for travel.  Ever since I was born, my parents instilled in me a great love of seeing new places which has only grown.  Today at a gathering of friends at the Palace of Fine Arts, someone was talking about visiting Zanzibar, and I immediately thrilled at the thought of being there someday myself.  I hope to get to see as many places on my long, long list as possible.

(This entry is part of one month of gratitude.)