Thursday, December 27, 2007

where i'm going, where i've been

sfo --> bos, night flight.

i didn't want to come back for this trip. not least because it's winter, because i've just spent 5 days with my mother in sf and would rather get the chance to miss her a lil, because i kind of want to be at work right now, because this trip is for a funeral. lots of things.

i will be back at work in january. i miss it, work. i miss my coworkers. my boss kicked me out of the kitchen early yesterday because it was slow, and i dragged my heels not wanting to go home. we've been so tied up with parties and zaniness lately that i want to remember the rhythm of a normal shift. yesterday morning it was nice to set up the station, get a couple projects underway, find ways to putter helpfully at the station. i cleaned and sanitized the station lowboy, put away the dairy order and eggs, chopped pine nuts, plated a few desserts. it felt nice to get back to the elemental things, the daily necessity.

i think i'm turning into a silly californian. i want to bring things back to my coworkers (pink rosewater aside) but then i feel like nothing we've got here is as good as SF's standards. why bring back jam and delicious cornbread from hi rise when we bay area dwellers can just get acme and june taylor?

(ice cream, sadly, cannot make the trip.)

i've been thinking about boston in this weirdly intense way lately...probably trying to get my feelings in order for this trip. all meta-up in my head like "i don't want to go home right now and what does this mean?" and "the food does not compare and what does this mean?" then i get back and the cold shocks my body before my brain can wake up. and we get in the car and drive through the things that are so familiar i cannot even see them anymore.

it's all just so familiar. the dunkies in the airport. coming through downtown on the pike, passing by fenway and the gun control billboard, seeing the charles and the BU bridge and harvard's sprawl. the way the snowbanks are mostly melted but you can tell they're firm and crunchy enough to walk on. we stop at a bakery first and its windows are steamed-up; the interior is warm and lit and alive with kids rolling dough. i love this bakery. it is one of the three good bakeries in boston (but that in itself is why i left boston).

i am cleaning up my mother's house and going through boxes of clothing in her basement (which is drier than my basement). tonight holds the prospect of more intimacy: dining at the charles hotel with family in town for the funeral. jody adams and rialto (where i once saw cornel west with a white chick (who is he? a west coast friend asked and i knew i was in the west) or else henrietta's table.

i get all these feelings about boston and then i get so close i slip under its skin. it is hard to evaluate what we know intimately. i was telling a friend about all the republicans i know and describing my father and stepmom to him. i told him to picture all the stereotypes about new englanders. how my brothers are ski-golf-basketball players, how they've got a big house in the suburbs, talbots clothing and sweaters. but i am a caricature too. the npr loving, wool-sweater clad, thrift store cambridgey kid. tho on the west coast, i could be anybody, that's the thing about the bay.

when i'm back here i feel like i could always come back here. and when i'm away i understand why i am gone.

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