This morning awaken by the fog horn on the bridge I lost for a moment. I lost not where I was but when I was. I’ve stayed in Russian Hill, the Marina…I lived in the Outer Richmond and the Inner Richmond. That sound is a sound of comfort after a binge night. It’s the sound of calm –that it’s all okay even when it is not. It’s a nice constant. I even loved it when I was living with my ex-husband. A feeling of love that left me almost as quickly as it came on.
And it got me to thinking perhaps that’s my issue after all. That lack of feeling. Here I am –purposefully undamaged, unexperimented with by anti-depressants, by therapy, by time. And yet I am just as not there as the rest of them. I am here but not here. I am watching it all from the ceiling. I’m watching myself from the ceiling. I don’t look too bad from where I sit on that ceiling to where I am on the couch below. I tell myself to lose a few pounds maybe. Maybe I tell myself to smile a bit. Laugh. Put on lipstick.
When will I be less numb?
Or is that our very condition? This numbness. Is this our survival tactic? When did I become the person who watches herself try to feel rather than feel directly? When did my heart freeze over? When did my soul?
I used to think living in the mountains made me feel alive. That it made for a lifted spirit. That children were saviors. Perhaps they all still are.
What does it take to feel new at 45? What does it take to discover joy?
Today we head back up the mountain. San Francisco sits today in the densest of fogs. I’m in the waiting room at UCSF 8th floor neurology with my mom. A follow up. We joke that she may have lost something in the fall. We joke about what the brain retains and what it does not. The receptionist says—too bad it’s so foggy on your last day here.
I don’t feel so badly about the fog. It winds through. It shifts. It’s its own gray matter. You can hide in it. It can be neither day nor night, just cover. I like it like that. I eat a really good breakfast at Rose’s Cafe. My mother notices the patrons seem to have money. Why isn’t anyone at work? She notices how expensive breakfast is. I look down at my plate. The breakfast there is its own art form. Why eat if it’s not art? Why live if it’s not art?
She balked at the price of books in a real book store. What are we as a nation when we expect culture and literacy at no price at all? We have costco-ized our brains.
These things make me melancholy. The lack of recognition of beauty. I cruise through craigslist and look at rents in my former neighborhood. My mother says why not just live outside the city and come in for things when you need a fix? That misses the point. I don’t want to be outside. I want to be inside. I want to feel again. I want to feel. I never meant to be old school. I never meant to like antiques and wax nostalgic for earlier things, for beautiful thing. I want my heart to love. I want my heart to break. I want to leave it here in the city lulled back and forth back into slumber by the fog horn on the bridge.