Posts Tagged ‘The Elbow Room’

Big Day

November 7, 2017

I got to work and walked in and sighed.

I already had a super busy day and I was tired before I even walked into the door at work.

Not in a bad way, just in a sort of thrown into unexpected places way and reflecting on what had transpired in the time before I got to work.

Super intense meeting with my supervisor and a lot of deep work around a specific client, who I saw this evening and got to apply all the things that I had worked on with my supervisor.

Which was really fulfilling and also a little exhausting.

And exhilarating too.

I felt like I was really being a good therapist and that my client was making some amazing headway.

I feel better and better the more I get to see my clients and learn about them and those that show up consistently and let me bear witnesses to their growth is really an amazing thing to witness.

At times exhausting, the work is challenging, but as I expressed to my boss today I am so grateful for it.

I didn’t even see my boss until after 4p.m. today, I was at work at the house, picking up my charge from school, and she was off and running her Monday as well.

I think we were both pretty tired from the day, but it was good to connect with her.

She’s great to work for and super flexible with my schedule.

Which is good since I’ll be going in late one more time next Monday.

I’ve been asked to come in again next week to work further on the lecture series, “People Who Usually Don’t Lecture.”

The women that are running the project have a certain vision and they have produced so many of this lecture series they really have a clarity about what needs to come across and what resonates with the audience.

So.

Although all the work I did on the narrative was not for naught, ugh, I still am going to have to re-write it.

I could heavily edit what I wrote, but I think a fresh rewrite with the direction they want from me will make it a far stronger piece.

I have a very clear idea what they want and I know how to write it and I have the opening line in my head so I know where it will go.

Sometimes, most times, all I need is that opening line or thought, the idea opens the door, I walk in and then I start describing what I see, it’s like walking into a warm room with a rag hook rug on the wood floor, a fire burning in a stove, a rocking chair with a soft throw on the arm and a pillow against the back.

I just need to settle into that chair and write what I see on the walls, tell the story in the pictures I see.

There I am running away from home to San Francisco at the ripe age of 29.

What happens.

Here’s a snap shot of DNA Lounge.

Here’s a picture of me in the back patio of The End Up after having been up all weekend.

All the things and crazy dark adventures, a Polaroid on a push pin board.

That time I made out with my best friends boss at The Elbow Room in the photo booth.

And forgot that I had a strip of photos of us kissing.

It fell out of my wallet when I was looking for something, and my friend picked it up.

“Oh my God!  You made out with STEVE!  YOU MADE OUT WITH MY BOSS?!  He’s gay!”

He wasn’t that gay that night.

Here’s another one of a night at Bruno’s on Mission Street, all dressed up for Halloween and getting ready for a night out on the town when my dealer calls and hey, he just got out of 850 Bryant (the jail here in San Francisco) and how much do I want?

Well.

Fuck.

I’ll start with three grams and go from there.

Hung over.

Cracked out.

Dancing at strange parties with strange people and all the misadventures there of.

The producers wanted a little more of the nitty-gritty of my using and then what happened.

I had put too much of an ellipses in the narrative and it made it seem like I did a line of blow and then suddenly got sober.

They wanted to hear more about the despair.

Because.

Well.

Drama.

It gets your attention, and it provides the vehicle to show how far I’ve come, the things I went through, and who I am.

They also wanted me to talk a little bit more about my nannying.

And what it means to work with children.

“Oh, I think I know what you mean,” I said to the woman speaking to me, “that I get to give the kind of love to a child that I never had for myself growing up.”

She teared up.

Yes.

That.

Let me pull your heartstrings.

Let me show you how resilient I am.

It’s not necessarily a drama play, it’s what really happened, but I have ten minutes to cover all the things and they wanted to sharpen certain points for power, so that it lands with the audience and connects them to me and my story.

Whew.

That’s just going to have to sit on the back burner for a little while and percolate.

I have a full client load this week, therapy tomorrow morning before work, group supervision mid-week, when I normally don’t have it until Saturday–but I’ll be in class Saturday so I have to do it this Wednesday, and yeah, that, school, it’s a school weekend.

No wonder I walked into work and already felt exhausted.

Sigh.

It won’t be that bad.

It’s not that bad.

And I am grateful I get to do this project, it is nice to be wanted, it’s nice to know that I have been chosen because I have something powerful to share and that I am someone who knows how deliver a story.

So that’s what I’m going to do.

But the re-write has got to wait until Sunday after I get out of class, I just don’t see getting to it before then.

I still have reading for class I need to attend to, and well, the week full of stuff.

Grateful that I have pockets of respite and some lovely things planned too, that have nothing to do with work and school and clients.

A girl needs a little fun too.

Especially when there’s so much else to attend to.

I need to let myself let loose a little too.

All work and no play makes me a very dull girl.

And I’m so not dull.

Seriously.

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You Get Around

May 5, 2015

I do.

“I follow you on Facebook and read your blogs, it’s good to see you in person, you really cram a lot of stuff into your day,” he told me as we were filing out of the room tonight.

I smiled.

I believe I thanked him for reading.

It’s nice to know that folks read these things I put out into the Universe, so often without much thought or effort, it would seem.

Although there is always much thought.

The effort really has to do with sitting down at the keyboard and figuring out a title.

Once I have a title, I don’t need anything.

I knew I was going to be writing “Inbound to Richmond District” the minute I saw it on the NextBus app.

There was something really musical about it to my ears.

And I do get around, but I suspect, many of us do, I just happen to document the getting around.

This brought to mind all the places I have lived in San Francisco as I enter my second year of residing in one spot.

It’s about a year and three-quarters, Labor Day weekend, just after Burning Man, will mark two years here in my little studio by the sea.

I can’t remember the last time I lived in one spot for two years.

It must have been when I was up in Nob Hill and technically I did move, albeit across the hall, but that was a move and challenging in its own ways.

I also may have resided at 23rd and Capp for two years, but I’m not certain I did, it feels like it was two years.

But as I explained to my charge today, “feelings are not facts,” I said with a smile and also relayed the message that “this too shall pass, the good news is you will have feelings, the bad news is you will have feelings.”

Then I tickled the grumpy out of him.

He is just such a sweet pie.

“Carmen! Carmen! Carmen! You have a star in your hair!” He excitedly reported to me.

“I do!” I replied, “what color is it?”

“Glittery!”

Heh.

Close enough kid.

“Silver,” I said, “you like stars, don’t you.”

“Yes!” He said and picked up his stuffed cat, “Meow Meow really likes stars too,” then he began to sing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, replacing the twinkle twinkle part with meows.”

Oh my god.

The cute.

Stop.

Wait, don’t stop.

“Stars are beautiful, you are beautiful,” he continued, “you must be a star.”

I just about fell out of the bed.

I was waking him up from his afternoon nap.

“You must be a star too,” I said and squeezed his little paw in mine, “Meow Meow is definitely a star as well.”

“Meow!” He said and kissed me.

My job might tire me the fuck out, but it is surely satisfying, yes, yes it is.

We had adventures to the park, both Dolores Park–in the morning, and Mission Playground in the afternoon, plus a trip to BiRite and to the market on the corner.

It made me remember when I discovered all these places when I first moved to San Francisco.

All the sites, the personal treasure map of love that San Francisco has imprinted on my heart.

The first time I went to Dolores Park was before I lived in the city, so that must have been in 2000 or possibly 2001.

Or The Elbow Room.

Blondie’s.

Casanova’s.

Kilo Watt.

Dalva.

The Roxie Theater.

When the New College was still the New College and I could still go to Osento and take a hot tub.

I still say I need to go to Osento sometime soon and then realize once again that it is gone.

It actually, or where it used to be, abuts the property of the people I work for.

I might have been naked on the roof of the spa soaking in the steam on a wood bench catching twinkling stars in between the clots of fog moving over the courtyard, the two wood barrel saunas, the outdoor shower, and the cold plunge–my current boss in her backyard hanging out on the other side of the fence.

I remember times when I was the only person there.

It was lovely.

You may have gathered that I lived a good portion of my time in the Mission.

My first residence in San Francisco–Labor Day weekend–it’s like my personal version of New Years, was a two month sublet at 20th and York.

I stayed past my two months and when another woman moved out of the room downstairs, I took it over.

I think I was paying $650 with everything included.

Granted there were five ladies living there, but we each had our own space carved out, technically the house was a three bedroom–all three upstairs–but one of the girls had carved out a weird little bedroom out of the kitchen pantry and then there was the studio/inlaw in the basement that I had.

It was great.

Until the house was sold and there was an owner move in and in less than two months we had to all get out.

I think it was actually 45 days, it happened so fast.

I found a room on craisglist, for less than I was actually paying at the house with all the girls, on 22nd and Alabama with a wild woman from Northern Italy who had been living in the house so long that she basically paid her rent by collecting from the two room mates and turning around and paying the landlord.

I could have cared less.

I was paying $500 a month for a huge room and access to the kitchen, bathroom, the gigantic glassed in back porch, where I spent three agonizing weeks drifting in a hammock, sleeping like the dead, out sick from work with Mono when I was 31.

MONO.

At freaking 31.

And it was my second time having it.

I had it the first time when I was 17.

Good times.

While I was living at 22nd and Alabama I had a friend turn me on to cocaine and his dealers number.

After some months of battling a rapidly growing habit, I decided, like a truly rational addict, that I should move out because I had the opportunity to move into a big beautiful house on 25th and Potrero (you would have never guessed how lovely the house was from the facade on Potrero–wood floors, Italian marble, skylights, pocket doors, fireplaces in two rooms, an office, two bedrooms, one and a half baths, laundry in the basement and the prettiest garden in the back) for $1100 a month.

That’s what my problem was!

My rent was too cheap!

If I just moved somewhere that was more than double my rent then I wouldn’t spend as much money on blow.

That didn’t work out so well.

But I did subsequently hit my bottom.

And the rest.

Well is his (her) story.

And I got around a lot after that as well.

Living at the following places:

Kingston and 30th.

Potrero and 26th.

Palou and 3rd.

Capp and 23rd Street.

Washington and Taylor.

Not once, but twice–the infamous move across the hall.

Homeless for three months couch surfing when I quit my high paying nanny job and went to work at bike shop in the Mission (crashed in the attic of a former family I nannied for on 25th and New Hampshire, “housesat” for a month at a friend of friend’s house that I met only once at a wedding, where I did her make up for the ceremony on a tiny side street at the bottom of Bernal Hill, and then on the couch of my friend who lives in Nob Hill on Clay Street) making half the salary I had been used to.

Then a teeny tiny box of an in-law in the Mission on 22nd and Folsom.

My bathroom was my kitchen was my garage (I hung my bicycle on a rack above the toilet).

After that.

Graceland in East Oakland for two months.

Then Paris–Rue Bellefond–in the bobo (bohemian bourgeoise) arrondissement, the 9th, just between Square D’Anvers and Cadet Metro Station for six months.

Then back to East Oakland for two, maybe three (?) months.

Can you say culture shock?

And finally.

Here.

46th Avenue between Judah and Irving Street.

And yes.

I moved in right after Labor Day weekend.

Where the hipsters meet the sea and the surfers rule the coffee shops.

And one wild woman with curly hair (pink!) rides out each day (well five out of seven anyway) six and a half miles, right back to the Mission, on her sparkle-pony whip of a bicycle.

I may be living in the same spot for a little while.

But.

I still get around.

It’s Just Wind In My Eye

April 24, 2015

I swear.

Those aren’t tears.

It was a close call, however, to know if the prickles of tears streaming down my face was actually caused by the wind, it was a brisk ride home, or by the fullness and sense of joy I had at riding home through the park at twilight.

The striations of color were like Easter eggs gone mad and I found myself almost stopping more than once to capture the sunset on my phone camera a few times as I rolled briskly along.

I did not, however, dinner was calling.

Loudly.

Normally I eat at work, but there were adventures and play dates and bicycle rides and stuff and things and I actually left the family, mom, dad, and both the boys at the slides in Dolores Park to scoot to my next commitment at 6:30p.m.

Dinner was not an option for me at the work site tonight.

I was alright with that, I pushed my lunch as late as I could and had a late coffee, which really isn’t always the best thing for me, but then again, I did have a play date rumpus with three little monkeys, so it felt like I was actually in need of the caffeine not for appetite suppressing, but to just get through the play date.

I made it though, and tomorrow, oh lovely of lovelies, is Friday.

I’m ready.

It has been a full week.

Then again, when aren’t they full?

I’m also excited to squeak in a tea with a good friend that despite being in the neighborhood of where I work, I don’t get to see all that much.

I’ve got a date with her tomorrow after work to catch up and have a spot of tea and I’m super excited.

There’s news.

There’s always news.

But sometimes you just got to tell a girl friend the stuff and I’m excited to get to do so without the boys I take care of in tow.

I love them I do.

“We are never letting her go!” The mom said today from the sandbox to her friend who is looking for help having just had a second baby a month ago.

I smiled.

That’s always something so nice to hear.

Job security.

I like having it.

I like that I have a place to park my bicycle indoor and hang it up on a rack.

I like that I got to work fifteen minutes early today too and did my stretching before starting the day.

I am sore.

I mean.

SORE.

The stretching I do before work is about a third of the exercises and stretches that the physical therapist wants me to be doing, but I’m not getting down on the ground in front of the house to do the clam shell stretch.

It’s a semi private street in the Mission that the house is located on, but it is still the Mission.

God only knows what is on the sidewalks.

Gentrification still smells like homeless guy pee.

It just looks a little tidier in the neighborhood.

Sidebar.

The Elbow Room lost its lease.

It’s closing in November, hopefully the establishment will find another place, but I shall be sad to see it leave.

I don’t drink there any longer–although I certainly did for a period of time and there are more than one set of smashed photos from the instant photo booth in the bar, but it was one of the first establishments that I hung out in, even before I moved to San Francisco.

I will never forget how hard I danced the first visit I made there and also how I found the neighborhood a little on the sketchy side and I was very happy to be with a tall guy friend on the way to the bar for the show.

It was upstairs and it was Vivendo de Pao–this amazing Afro-Brasillian fusion band.

I danced so hard.

That show alone could be why my knees hurt, and that was over twelve years ago.

They were amazing and I thought I was in love and who cares if he has a girl friend.

He’s the one.

He’s  so not the one.

He’s married somewhere in the South Bay with a couple of kids.

I haven’t seen him in over 10 years.

I fell in love with the venue though.

And have even gotten, in sobriety, to perform there with Sunshine Jones from Dubtribe, who did a song with me from a poem I wrote when I was in my first year of living in San Francisco, called While You Were Sleeping.

I performed that and another and it was a kind of full circle.

That was the last time I was at the Elbow Room.

It’s a great place to dance, though, and I will make a point of getting to the venue at least a few times before it leaves to be replaced by another condo.

Yeah.

That’s basically what is going in its place.

The owners of the building are not going to renew the lease for The Elbow Room and they just announced to the bar owners today that they would not be signing anew.

Ah, good old gentrification, you just keep happening.

“Don’t tell anyone you like living in the Mission,” my friend told me when I had settled into my first sublet on York and 20th.

“It’s already getting a little too gentrified.”

And that was in 2002.

It’s not over yet.

End aside.

I don’t know that I should end that aside, it got pretty long, and in its own way winds into my blog about San Francisco and beauty and how I am grateful, so very grateful, deeply, truly, madly, wildly grateful, to get to live here still.

I don’t intend on moving anywhere else.

I want all the things and I want them here, in SF.

It’s my home and it can slay me with its beauty without warning.

I wound through the park as the light shifted and the colors in the sunset became more glorious and deep, smote my heart, the velvet and dusk and soft light, filtered through the pines and the tops of the trees, the silhouette of a tall Eucalyptus winnowed with orange and umber and red and then violet and indigo, the crescent moon drifting over it all.

My heart swelled and the scene at Spreckels Lake was astounding, the mirror of the sunset on the flat surface was too glorious for words.

I smiled.

I rode around the corner and past the buffalo in the paddock and the green of the hills and the soft scent of the sea the wood fire burning in a fireplace, I swear, it was just the wind in my eyes.

I do cry for joy sometimes.

I might have tonight.

Happy.

Joyous.

Free.

In my life.

In my body.

In my home.

In my San Francisco.

Connection

February 16, 2014

I stood on the corner of 7th and Irving dithering between getting a ride back to Ocean Beach with someone I did not know very well or catching the train into Cole Valley to run errands.

I took contrary action and joined the new friend.

I can always take care of my bike tomorrow, or better yet Monday.

I have to get my playa bike out of the garage of the family in Cole Valley.

They have a ton of storage and a huge garage and my bike being there has not been much of an issue, but they will be doing some construction and it needs to go.

Except, go it don’t.

In the process of getting the flat tire fixed at the Playa Bike Restoration facility at Burning Man it was reassembled incorrectly and despite many in my camp trying to get it back together, together it was not.

I had debated taking it to the shop in the Mission, but that is a long haul to take it and after my really great interaction with the guys at American Cyclery I popped back in last week to chat and they said they could take care of it.

I was going to take care of it today.

I took care of lots.

I cleaned and swept and shook out the rugs and I went to Tart to Tart and did the deal and than did some more of that stuff and spoke in front of strangers and told some stories, none of which I can remember, but it sort of wilted me out.

Sometimes I get energized, sometimes I get taken over.

I got taken over and I got tired.

I also was allowing myself to go a little slower and instead of jam pack my day with stuff when the ride was offered back to the hood, I thought, sure, why not, why not make a new connection, talk with a person who I admire and let them in and see where it goes.

We had a great talk and exchanged numbers and now I know another person in the hood, she’s over at 42nd between Noriega and Pacheco.

Perfect.

“You know everybody,” my friend said to me over green curry at Thai House on Valencia at 16th.

I don’t know everybody, but, yeah, I do know a few folks.

The more I get to be here, the lovelier that is.

Granted, it’s not like I am crazy close with every friend I have on Facebook, but I am doing my best to take some contrary action and put myself out there to make new connections and to foster bonds between me and others who want me around.

For instance, yes, it’s true, this 41-year-old lady with old creaky knees is going dancing tomorrow night at the End Up.

A girlfriend of mine, who I adore, but don’t really spend a lot of solo friend time with had messaged me and another girlfriend about going to the End Up on Sunday, as it’s a three-day weekend, President’s Day, and she’s always heard the three-day weekends are great there.

They are, from my recollection, and it will be House music.

Right up my alley.

So, tomorrow, after I take care of some business at Our Lady of Safeway, I will be meeting her at the End Up at 9p.m. to dance it out.

It’s been a while since I have been clubbing and I am sure it will be interesting.

It’s been a while since I have been to the End Up, old friend of mine, we do go back a few years, I met you over a decade ago, can’t ever forget that first time.

Flying into SFO, taking a Blue Shuttle to the End Up where a friend is waiting, dropping E, dancing on the patio, going to the Mission, hanging out at Casanova’s, losing half the party, leaving my suitcase in the trunk of a strangers car, winding up in the photo booth at the Elbow Room, and making out with the gay manager of Harvey’s in the Castro.

Sleeping over on the couch of the gay manager from Harvey’s boyfriend’s living room tucked into a little one bedroom at San Carlos and 17th before the rent for a one bedroom at San Carlos and 17th went for $2900 (I know someone who lives in one of these places currently, sleeps half her time at her friends place in the Mission, then Air Bnb’s her apartment out two weeks out of the month so that she can cover her rent costs) and there were still hookers in the alley way shooting up heroin and shitting in the gutters between parked cars.

I also won’t soon forget my friend, who I did hook back up with the next day, coming across the pictures from my foray into the Elbow Room.

“Oh my God, did you make out with my boss?!”  He cried, half in horror, half in glee, “he’s gay!  And he has a boyfriend!”

“Shut up,” I said and tried to snatch back the strip of evidence.  It would not be the last time for me and drunken pictures in that booth.  I have about five of the strips in my possession stashed away in a box of photos.

“Dude, did he taste like Carl’s cock?” My friend continued laughing at me.

I don’t know that I will be making out with any gay men on my Sunday foray to the End Up, but you never know.

I do know that I am dancing.

Can’t remember the last time I went out on a Sunday night to dance too.

Just following those silly suggestions.

“Why don’t you go have fun,” said John Ater, “try doing that, instead of the panicking, see what happens.”

Any one else down for fun?

End Up.

Tomorrow night.

9p.m.

We could even make out.

Or not.

 


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