Right now I’m sitting across from one of my favorite friends as we both work on our respective writing assignments while sipping coffee from bowls. Well, I’m more distracting her from her work by interrupting with hilarious stories, because I’m just a hilarious person, but I digress. I am at Tartine Bakery in San Francisco, my ultimate of happy places. I’ve definitely cried here more than once, out of pure adoration. And the most attractive long-haired boy I’ve ever laid eyes on is strolling behind the bakery counter. That is just putting it over the top for me right now. I’m also highly caffeinated. Weeeeeee!
In essence, I am at this very moment in one of my favorite places in the world, doing one of my favorite things. Everything is good.
And the best thing is, that statement rings true for any other moment of this weekend. This was a weekend when I remembered that I am pretty much living the dream!
First of all, Friday afternoons are always awesome and this one was no different. I got out of art history class early in the afternoon and went for a sunny bike ride to the grocery store, where I filled my bike’s front basket with flowers and fruit. I took my time zig-zagging back, remembering how much I love where I live. I came home and started juicing a pound of grapefruits for some fancy drinks my friends and I were going to have before we went to the art walk down the street from my home. We’re fancy folk, so naturally we need hand-squeezed fancy juice for drinks on Fancy Friday. We strolled the galleries early in the evening and ran into a ton of new and old friends from our school. I invited them all to the show at my place that night.
Oh, show at your place, you say? Why YES! My place! My place, this building where I am currently living, is called the Starline, and it’s a performance venue in uptown Oakland. And there was a show of magical proportions there last Friday night.
The Starline is a century-old three-story building that once housed an organization for the deaf and had been abandoned for years before my roommates turned it into a hybrid performing-arts venue and living space. The one-room apartments (including mine) are upstairs; downstairs there’s an actual ballroom, with hardwood floors and antique diner booths lining the walls! Also in the ballroom: a big bar, a big stage, and about a thousand square feet of empty floor—everything you need to put on any kind of show for a lot of people.
The art walk that happens in Oakland once a month is a pretty big event—the local galleries on the main drag in uptown are open till 9, and there are always hundreds of people partying in the street. Our show served as sort of an after-party, and tons of people showed up! My roommates were prepared, though—they hired a professional bouncer to work the door. And since we were serving alcohol, that bouncer was checking IDs and rejecting anyone under 21. Which was bad news for all my underage friends that I’d invited to the party.
I decided to play it really cool. I went up to this burly dude and said with as much suaveness as I could muster, “Hey, man, so, just wanna let you know, I got some people coming … let’s just say that if someone says they’re with Dylan, they’re cool, man.” He looked at me skeptically, but it worked! None of my friends had a problem getting in.
The show itself was beautiful. Three bands played while an artist projected live video art on top of them. I didn’t get to enjoy much of the music, as I was bouncing around the room, selling tickets at the front, making sure the bathroom was in working order and the bar was well stocked. But it did sound beautiful, and between bands, DJs played some dancey tunes as my group of friends turned the ballroom into a huge dance floor. Side note: people in the Bay Area are really beautiful! I was pretty excited that that many babes where just wandering around my “living room.”
The next afternoon, I woke up late and gazed at the morning-after ballroom. I felt so many cheesy feelings of love for the space, and about what a happy night I had. I felt a need to do something with all this love, so I swept and mopped the entire ballroom by myself. It was a laborious three hours, but sometimes physical actions like that really help me solidify feelings of gratitude. It’s like spending hours cooking a meal for your closest friends—it’s time consuming and energy sucking, but you want to show them what they mean to you. I don’t know, I guess I can get pretty deep when I’m being all domestic and mopping floors…
The rest of the weekend held more moments of friendship and happy adventuring times. I went on a late-night bike ride with a friend to a monthly soul night, where we danced for hours alongside random hipsters and old men alike (sounds creepy—totally wasn’t) while sipping on a whiskey we brought in a Mason jar. I met up with another friend the next afternoon and went thrift- and dollar-store shopping in the city, where I bought a sack of colorful plastic rocks and a new blazer. I woke up Saturday morning with a handful of buddies asleep on my floor like babies, and it just made me so happy to see them there. These people, these places, and the magic that can happen between them—it all seemed to come together for me this weekend. I just had a moment reconnecting with my life. Remembering what I’m doing, why I’m here, who I am and what I love. And what I love just happens to be my life. ♦