Friday, September 26, 2008

Prego No More

As you all know, Heb has been prego since November. In July, I visited her and James in The OC to hang out one last time before they would become parents and have to exhibit example-setting behavior such as watching their language and sitting up straight. The countdown had begun!

Who knew that things like washing the baby’s first load of laundry (so he’d have fresh little onesies when he came home from the hospital) would be so emotional? I must have cried five times over the course of those two days. The mere site of a fully pregnant Heb buying her first bottle of baby aspirin put me over the edge—in Target, no less. Well maybe I’ll try to blame that tear storm on exceeding my superstore limit for the day. Ok, so 4 times. Which is still a lot.

Flash forward 2 weeks and my phone rang at work. It was Heb, calling from the hospital! The baby had come and everyone was healthy and happy. Heb was a mom! And I was a proud…emergency contact! More tears.

Last weekend I finally got to meet the baby (who will eventually be called Jamie once we get over our slew of embarassingly mushy nicknames for him). We had so much fun hanging out together. Being the 5-week-old that he is, he cried enough for both of us, which left me free to work on my posture.

Right now he’s in an amusing phase that Heb likes to refer to as “the absence of emotion regulation.” It goes a little something like this: (over the course of 2 minutes) smile, fuss, cry, smile, fuss, smile, fall asleep, wake up, fuss, consider smiling, cry. I like to call it “equal opportunity emotion selection.” That way he seems more like he’s in the driver’s seat.

Anyway, this little guy is seriously adorable. No really. Check him out.

Hitting a Stride

Heather was my very first real-life roommate (not counting those few depressing winter months following college graduation that I spent living with some buddies in Portland, OR...before I realized I don’t seem to thrive in sun-starved locations. Read: wake up every day to the sound of MORE rain and fight back tears while wondering if my shoes had dried from the day before).

As I was leaving the Pacific Northwest—soaking wet in an all too familiar mix of cold rain and hot tears—and moving down to San Francisco where I had scored my first real job, a friend of mine put me in touch with Heather. Someone had moved out of her group house in the Haight and she needed to fill the room. A few days later, I moved into a cheery Victorian on Belvedere Street…and my shoes dried out for good.

Heather was a girl who had hit her stride as a young, single woman. Freshly out of a relationship with her high school sweetheart who was off to med school, she was fabulously busy every night meeting up with friends, attending work-related social events or staying in to entertain all sorts of people with dinner parties, movie nights, you name it.

One grade ahead of me in school, Heather had been livin’ the San Francisco city life for almost a year at that point. As far as I was concerned, she was an expert on all things SF as evidenced by her command of the public transportation system (wholly impressive to me at the time), recommendations for affordable ethnic take-out (very worldly, I remember thinking) and fun ideas for weekend trips. She was the perfect person to show me the ropes. And that she did.

We had all sorts of adventures living together in that house, which somehow became a revolving door for curious short-stay tenants. We sat back and watched these people come and go—everyone from a 7 foot 1 (no joke) semi-pro basketball player who subsisted singularly on hot dogs to an electronica DJ who mysteriously made ends meet by selling wood jewelry that he carved between the hours of 3am and 5am. At one point, we decided it would be a good idea to rent out my room for a month or two and have me stay with Heather in her room…in her bed. Why not? Then we split her rent and “made” $250 each for the month! We were practically rich!

Heather and I wound up moving together to a new house and staying in good touch after she eventually left San Francisco for grad school. After years of trading hilarious—and not so hilarious—dating stories, Heather met Pete. And that was that. In July, they got married up in Yosemite—the perfect spot for Ms. Envirofab and Mr. Ourdoorsman to come together.

My friend Heather set another example for me that day, almost 10 years later. She moved into her next phase of life with a remarkable focus and the utmost confidence. And I watched from beneath a canopy of redwoods, in dry shoes.

Guerilla Drive-in

A few months ago, one of my friends tipped me off to the Guerilla Drive-in, a real drive-in movie "organized over the internet, [that] appears for a short time in a random location, and disappears just as quickly as it came." In July, they set up shop on Treasure Island, offering viewers the opportunity to re-live the big screen splendor of Ghostbusters, feeding the souls of my immediate cohort—the same kids who ate dozens of Happy Meals with the hope of getting a crappy little Slimer toy and who practiced the “no ghost” symbol again and again on our spiral notebooks.

About an hour before sunset, 20 or so carfuls of us independently made our way to the secret location—a parking lot alongside a 2-story warehouse with a smooth white wall. (Note: I have mixed feelings about watching a drive-in movie from a fancy hybrid, a frontier boldly explored by two girls sporting skinny jeans. Sacreligous or environmentally sensitive? You be the judge.) After an impromptu tailgate with fellow movie-goers, we returned to our respective vehicles and snuggled in with our car-mates.

We all turned our radios to the designated frequency and as the opening credits rolled, the song we all once knew and loved crackled through our car radios. “When there’s something bad. In the neighborhood. Who ya gonna call?” As I sang along, I slipped right back into 1984.

Suddenly, I was a little gymnast again, warming up on the floor mat with my teammates. We’d meet eyes while upside down in backbends and mouth “I ain’t afraid of no ghost!” hoping our coach wouldn’t catch us playing around. (OK, so I was 9 and had nothing better to mouth such as hilarious client-bashing commentary during painful team conference calls.)

Now watching the movie in my 30s, I was amused to discover just how saucy it is. I remember the Gatekeeper/Keymaster relationship as a few vague interactions having something to do with the troublesome Zuul situation. Well, now I see that vague they were not! The scene where Sigourney Weaver is hovering above her bed in a revealing silk negligee (an awsomely jagged off-the-shoulder number tremendously capturing 1984) while possessed by the demon, begging Bill Murray to “take her!” is nothing short of naughty.

It's funny to consider what my 9-year-old self thought was going ON there? My guess is that I was too focused on how many Milk Duds remained in the box and what might happen to the great city of New York if the Ghostbusters accidentally...crossed the streams.


This is the part where I admit that it’s been 2 months and 3 weeks since I last wrote. Rather than offer excuses about wildly distracting, sparkly things including a brand new baby that have caught my eye and captured my attention as of late, I’ll just catch you right up and we can pretend this little lapse never happened, shall we? Good, then.