This is all just dust, he said to me emphatically, waving at the bicyclists and skateboarders, the dog walkers, and the Friday afternoon revellers in the Mission.

He was pretty damn on point with me today, cut straight through all the bullshit and said, do whatever you’re going to do or hide away in a closet.

It’s all dust.

So get busy living.

Well, I added that part.

“What about Rome?” He also asked.

Now how the fuck did he know about Rome?

I don’t recall talking about it at all to him, although I have had Rome on the brain a little of late, especially this afternoon as I stood taking in the panorama of San Francisco from the top of 19th between Noe and Sanchez.

It is a spectacular view from my employers back window.

It reminds me of how the houses in Rome were stacked up against one another and there was something of the light this afternoon that reminded me of Rome as well.

Rome is one of those places I wouldn’t mind living in for a little while.

“Research” another book.

I started writing a new piece today.

I went to Flax after work and I bought a new Claire Fontaine notebook and a bunch of stickers, I did not find the birthday card for my mom, although I hunted through, that remains on the list and I need to take care of that on the morrow, her birthday is November 7th and I want to make sure the card gets to her by that day.

I bicycled away from Flax with the sun beaming down benevolently on my head and the entire way there I thought, “what is the opening line?  How will I start, where am I going with the story, what am I doing,” etc, etc, etc.

God, sometimes I dislike that part of my brain so much.

I counseled myself and said, just show up, just sit down.

Open the notebook and see what comes.

I wasn’t expecting to write what I wrote.

I wasn’t expecting to have a name for the heroine, and it just popped out onto the page.

I started writing and continued to do so until John Ater showed up at the cafe and he motioned for me to come out and talk with him on the benches outside.

The blue sky, the green flashing leaves on the trees, all the stories I tell myself.

“Have you written about what you learned in Paris yet?” He asked bluntly at one point in the conversation.

“Sort of, in my morning pages,” I said.

“No, have you written about it, not artistically, just for yourself, just to see what is there,” he concluded.

“No.”  I said.

No, I have not.

Maybe I don’t want to learn exactly what it is that I learned there.

Let’s see, there is that I made a lot of connections, I met a lot of people, I was in a lot of fear, most of which was completely unnecessary, and most of which I was able to walk through.

There were days though, when the terror was so strong upon me that I don’t know how I made it through.

I learned that I don’t want to live in  Paris, at least not right now, but that I do want to live in San Francisco, and be also a woman of the world.

Not just Rome.

But what about Africa?

How about that for a six month stretch?

How about being based in San Francisco, anchored here, and then once every few years, going off and travelling, taking pictures and writing.

Or Hawaii.

Or Iceland.

Or, well, who knows.

What if I just nanny for a little while here, build up another nest egg and then travel and write some more.

What if I was not “Auntie Bubba Girl on the Go, but Auntie Bubba, Woman of the World?”

What would that look like?

“Just do it, don’t talk about it, how long did you talk about Paris,” John asked me briskly.

I don’t know.

I didn’t realize that I had talked about it that much.

However, if an ex that I dated six years ago recalls me wanting to move to Paris, well, I guess I have been talking about it for a while.

What did I learn?

That my home is San Francisco and that the people I love live here, Steve and Joan and Beth, Matt, and Radha, Calvin, Tami, Arin, Megan, Sarah, Alex and Shannon, John Ater, Joanne, Mace, Tanya, Stephanie, Taylor, oh, there’s a list.

“I just wanted to tell you how much I love you,” I told a friend of mine today over the phone.

“You were one of my rocks when I was in Paris, I couldn’t have done it without you in my corner,” I had tears streaking down my face and turned into the atm at the bank to deposit my work check for the week before heading off to adventures in nannying.

I felt compelled to reach out and tell some folks today that I love them.

And to also check the balance on my bank account, because I am buying a ticket to Florida to visit some family soon.

When the blog is finished writing itself, it does that, I don’t anymore, this is just a conduit, I am just a channel.

“What else?” He asked, crossing his arms in front of himself.

“I have already broken up with him before we got started,” I said.

“Which one?” He laughed.

“How about you just sequester yourself in your room, nail wood slats on the door and hide for the rest of your life, you are going to get hurt either way, there is no safe way through,” he ended.

“Why don’t you give it a chance, see what happens,” he coughed, “or have you already figured it out?”

“Fuck you,” I said, and turned back to the trees, the light, the sky, the coffee cup with melted ice in it.  I ran my finger around the froth of milk rimming the cup and sucked it off.

“I learned that I don’t have to know what I am doing, I just have to do it.”

This is what I have realized since leaving that bench in front of Philz on 24th and Folsom Street.

I don’t have to know where I am going.

I don’t have to know why.

I don’t have to figure it out.

I just need to let you know how much I love you.

Because that is, in the end, the only thing that really matters.

And with that, you’ll have to excuse me, I have a ticket to purchase, there is someone I need to tell that to face to face.



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