Cities are like old lovers, I think. angledge once told me so, so it’s probably true. I came back to San Francisco last week still rosy from the afterglow of a dirty, fulfilling tryst with the cultured, spectacular Scottish capital. A year of bliss, and a wave of interpolated fear from facing up to an eventual ‘catching up’ date with the old flame of the Bay Area. Maybe dinner and a movie? Nothing too intimate, too quickly, I hope. Would we still have things in common? Does she still find me attractive? Can I put up with her idiosyncrasies and bad habits?

I had visions of castles and churches and archives and dear friends during the fourteen hours of travel between my two loves, which were tentatively encroached upon by fog-shrouded memories of bridges, technology, cafés galore, and more dear friends. Only a year. Nowhere near forgotten, and soon to be the context of my life again. And down we came into SFO, over a familiar, rosy landscape just as the sun was finally going down. Her cheeks were flushed with trepidation and her skin sun-blushed with excitement at the reengagement. And I felt the same way. There was a new strength at the core of me, merged with the experience gleaned, as we all do, from time within another relationship. We see things we maybe didn’t see before, with new ways of looking and confronting. Things we might have taken for granted, or forgotten about during our time away. A new maturity and a better sense of ourselves.

This is why it’s so important to travel.

And whether your relationship is with a lover or a place, the rules of engagement are the same.

Here are the results of mine.

Upon claiming my baggage, I waited a short while for my dearest Evan, who showed up soon after, smartly donning a handsome chauffeur’s outfit. It wasn’t for me. He just dresses like that. And after many warm hugs and cheek-pinches, he explained that his lovely wife was waiting outside for us with the car, so off we hauled the mounds of baggage (physical and emotional?) into the SF evening breeze. Massive forest fires that had been burning on the outskirts of the Bay had turned the sky hazy and orange, and the smell of immolated pine was tickling our noses. We walked by a line of cars sheltering anxiously-awaiting San Francisco citizens, looking forward (or dearly dreading) to once again gaze upon lover, friend, or family member. The cars are bigger over here, of course, and so are some of the people. We stumbled by SUVs and Ford trucks and even a big, black stretch limo, waiting for some lucky soul. And then an older man whom I did not know, also dressed rather well, began to pick up my baggage, and proceeded to load it into the voluminous trunk (née, boot) of that mean, slick ride. The rear door opened then, and as I was trying to comprehend the implications of such an action (some stylish rogue, stealing my luggage), there was a mighty flash, directly in my face.

Look at that big, goofy dork at their end of it.

And within the dark but lush confines of a balloon-infested, champagne-filled interior, a pocket of my most peculiar, perspicacious pals were all there to give me enough love and hugs to almost make the pain from rifting with Edina disappear. If anything could have done it, this was it. My most gracious and heartfelt thanks go to rudysyntax, Great N8, kittynitro, Fontastic, and the Good Doctor. I couldn’t have hoped for anything better.

And we drove through South SF, the Mission, and then along the Panhandle, and after dropping off loaves of belongings and downing a few good glasses of bubbly along the way, we took a perfect, temperate evening’s stroll to the Haight and I finally got that fucking burrito. And it was really, really good.

While the internal clock is struggling to catch up with the rest of this West Coast waking world, it didn’t stop me from falling into a quick snooze before getting up before sunrise to greet the flaming fingers of dawn.

Right outside the door is the ol’ city. The familiar stacks of brightly-colored houses, steep hills, and good smells all around; the ridge ahead topped by what we are proud to call the Freak Magnet. It works, I tell you.

The ol’ girl is pretty stylish in her own right. You can see the layers of time tacked right on to one another, in close quarters. San Francisco achieved its status as a city in 1850, just a few years after Edinburgh. 🙂

The size difference, after spending much time in such a small, British village-city, is enormous. It’s like stepping out of the wardrobe, because the streets and districts go on and on. Yet SF has only 800,000 people, just twice that of Edinburgh, compressed onto a very small peninsula.

It took me a while be able to cross the street without nearly getting mowed down, after looking the wrong way for a while now. But the cars here stop for you – I had forgotten! We have right of way!

After a glorious crépe and potatoes, old faces at familiar establishments, and actually being able to say “Hey” to people on the street, I had me a fist-sized triple-chocolate ice cream cone at the Haight/Ashbury Ben & Jerry’s. The little guy behind the counter with the cool earrings ignored my declining of a myriad of taste-tests, and instead gave me an extra scoop on the house, which nearly killed me on the way back to Evan’s.

The twin towers of the cathedral at USF mark the path home, and show that the architecture in this city is indeed beautiful and exacting.

And I’m forever in the debt of dear Ev and Fonta, who have opened their home to me while I collect my faculties once again. Because of them, I’m currently centrally-located, in a place I love being, and am surrounded by good friends. And wireless connectivity plus dear Ivo the cat don’t hurt much, either.

The sun is brighter than it’s been in a while, but the weather is turning again. People have been joking that I’ve brought the rain over from Scotland, but no one seems to be too bothered by it. I’ve got my car back and am happily mobile, and in crossing the Golden Gate to Marin just the other day, a perfect blanket of fog shrouded the entire bay, and made it look very much like we were suspended above a heavenly locale, were it not for the creeping tendrils reaching out over the point of the Headlands. This is a sight I’d never seen before, in all my years here.

But this recent time has been about seeing new things, and my eyes have never been more widely opened.


29 Responses to “Homecomings.”

  1. dougygyro Says:
    October 18th, 2004 at 11:11 am

    You truly have a way with words. Welcome home.

  2. FunkyPlaid Says:
    October 21st, 2004 at 3:22 am

    Thanks so much, Dougy. Be seeing you soon, I hope.

  3. psymbiotic Says:
    October 18th, 2004 at 11:35 am

    Rawk! 😀
    We need to meet up for that long overdue beer my friend. :>
    Egan >:>

  4. FunkyPlaid Says:
    October 21st, 2004 at 3:24 am

    That, many times over. Things are settling after a week now. Give me a *ping* when you have an evening free – even just a couple of hours.
    Looking forward to it.

  5. ethereal_lad Says:
    October 18th, 2004 at 11:52 am

    I'll be in your fair city in two weeks. Maybe we could go out for a beer

  6. FunkyPlaid Says:
    October 21st, 2004 at 3:25 am

    I'd like that very much. Will you notify me as the time gets closer?

  7. Anonymous Says:
    October 18th, 2004 at 2:09 pm

    welcome back…
    *so* glad you are home :o) these pictures are wonderful!
    C and T

  8. FunkyPlaid Says:
    October 21st, 2004 at 3:27 am

    Re: welcome back…
    Finally, after a long time away. Sorry I've been so nutty this week, but as things mellow out, I'd love to see more of you…and the furry one, of course.

  9. spiffington Says:
    October 18th, 2004 at 6:15 pm

    You know I can *hear* you in that first picture,
    Such a great thing to read. So glad all your nearest and dearest were there 🙂
    Take care cherub and welcome back to your first home…

  10. FunkyPlaid Says:
    October 21st, 2004 at 3:34 am

    Thanks so much. That is *exactly* what I said, as well.
    Shortly after going, "Orp!' and picking up my jaw from the pavement.

  11. shawree Says:
    October 18th, 2004 at 10:39 pm

    Have you ever considered writing poetic travel guides? I already learned to love San Francisco on previous visits, but now I really want to go again!!

  12. FunkyPlaid Says:
    October 21st, 2004 at 3:36 am

    Hehe. No, I haven't, but if you'll buy mine, you bet your sweet patootie I'll try something.
    If you do make it out to SF again, you'd better let me know. How strange that we never got a chance to meet over there, but instead would do so here.

  13. shawree Says:
    October 22nd, 2004 at 7:46 am

    'Tis a funny old world, eh?! Mind you, us coming anywhere near SF anytime soon is highly unlikely cos we can't afford it, but oh, am I tempted!! Of course I'd then also have to go and see various friends throughout California, what a shame… 😉

  14. angledge Says:
    October 19th, 2004 at 2:29 am

    Your friends are amazing to welcome you home in such a great fashion. I look forward to meeting them.

  15. FunkyPlaid Says:
    October 21st, 2004 at 3:37 am

    And they will LOVE you. Seriously.

  16. dr_beep Says:
    October 19th, 2004 at 3:42 am

    Right then, we need to get ourselves a drink and catch up a bit!

  17. FunkyPlaid Says:
    October 21st, 2004 at 3:38 am

    There are few things I'd like more. Please let me know when you have some time. I'll be settling in over the next week or so, but I'm eager to catch up and hear what's been happening in your life.

  18. seolta Says:
    October 19th, 2004 at 5:12 am

    Limo and an entourage!!! That's WAY cool, dood!!!!! Your friends ROCK!!!!!!

  19. FunkyPlaid Says:
    October 21st, 2004 at 3:40 am

    Yes, I am one fortunate fuckwad.
    I'll expect the same from you when I come back,of course.
    See how the barometer rises?

  20. scotis_man Says:
    October 19th, 2004 at 8:09 am

    I amy live in the east bay, now, but I am still waiting to buy you a pint, or a whiskey, as you prefer.

  21. FunkyPlaid Says:
    October 21st, 2004 at 3:45 am

    I'll graciously take either, or both.
    We'll be in touch very soon, and thank you for the kind offer.

  22. thedarkcyde Says:
    October 19th, 2004 at 8:27 am


  23. FunkyPlaid Says:
    October 21st, 2004 at 3:45 am

    Yo, to you.

  24. cygnoir Says:
    October 19th, 2004 at 4:00 pm

    You're back! And I didn't believe it until I saw with my own eyes. 🙂
    See you again soon. (That is so nice to type.)

  25. FunkyPlaid Says:
    October 21st, 2004 at 3:46 am

    And even nicer to read.
    And nicer yet to see you here, in this little, electronic forum.
    *mesmerized by the eyes…THE EYES*

  26. dichroicynosure Says:
    October 20th, 2004 at 3:06 am

    Wow, this was a magnificent read! You really returned to 'your old lover' like a gentleman, rediscovering her old but timeless charms, caressing them afresh with eyes resensitised to her beauty…You make me pine for her as well. Oooo a burrito! Divine!
    I miss the chats and such. I can be reached at 0090 537 971 60 09! Send me your address when you get a chance.

  27. FunkyPlaid Says:
    October 21st, 2004 at 3:51 am

    Thanks for this contact number, darling.
    It is good to be back here, sundry Mexican foods and all.
    I hope that you'll have some time for messaging in the near future, but moreso I hope that your own transition and settling go very well.
    *scribbles down numbers*

  28. dichroicynosure Says:
    October 20th, 2004 at 3:06 am

    glasses=fantastic BTW!

  29. FunkyPlaid Says:
    October 21st, 2004 at 3:51 am

    Wha? Wh–huh?
    *squints at nobody*
    Heh. Thank you. 🙂

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