Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Journey to the past and a trip back to reality

I am back from my Bay Area road trip.

I spent my last day of work anxiously awaiting my reunion with my old friends. Then, I was so filled with nervous energy that I woke up at 2am. Unfortunately, I had gone to bed only two hours prior and my alarm was set to go off two hours later. I don't think I actually went back to sleep because I was wide awake when I awoke prematurely. When my alarm finally went off around 4am, I simply turned off the alarm and proceeded gingerly to get ready as though it were 4pm.

I made a necessary pit stop before hopping on the freeway. Tank full and a very strong cup of coffee in my hand, I made my way toward LA to pick up Brandon at his apartment. I arrived at his apartment building and found myself all jittery with excitement. It had been over a year since I bid farewell to him in Boston. I don't know if it showed, but I was totally giddy when we got to see each other again and began our long journey to Berkeley.

The one aspect of this trip that I was dreading was the drive to and from the Bay Area. I hate driving and am horrible when it comes to directions. I had imagined us getting lost in some dreadful place or somehow ending up in Mexico (knowing me, I would find some way to end up heading south instead of north and never realizing it). Luckily, Brandon had a GPS that he brought along. I always knew GPS devices were wonderful things, but now I learned first-hand how amazing those little computers can be. It made the trip a simple and painless thing. It is definitely going to be my next big purchase.

I only made a few stops along the way to Berkeley. One stop at a gas station (somewhere past Oxnard, I think) to use the bathroom and buy some nourishment. The next stop was in King City for gas and another bathroom break. We had originally planned to make a stop before that to eat at In n Out, but we ended up driving past it. We could have stopped for food elsewhere, but we were craving Double-Doubles. Thanks to my Blackberry, we knew that another In n Out was 96 miles away from where we were. So we filled the tank and made our way to that In n Out. And it was worth the wait!

From the land of delicious burgers and fries we drove straight to Berkeley without making any further stops. Aside from the traffic we encountered due to the Bay Bridge being closed, we made it to our hotel without any difficulties. We left LA at about 7am and made it to Berkeley around 3pm or so. We could have arrived sooner, but Brandon had really wanted us take PCH. Taking CA-1 and the 101 made it a longer trip, but it was a really nice drive.

Our friend Bika was waiting for us at the Downtown Berkeley BART station, so we didn't have much time to rest after getting into our room. I didn't mind though because I could not wait for the Boston trio to reunite. It was so wonderful getting to see dear Bika again. I wiped everything but the present from my mind the moment the three of us were together again. At that moment, as far as I was concerned, I was back in my Boston life. We hadn't gone our separate ways. It was the good old days again. It was as it should be.

We spent the day walking around Berkeley. Showing Brandon some of Cal's campus. Walking down Telegraph Ave.. Going into costume shops to look for last-minute accessories. Nothing wild; just experiencing the city. The big event was later that night. We had bought tickets for American Idiot at the Berkeley Rep. Brandon and I ended up with amazing seats. We sat front row center. The actors were just a few feet from us. It was a good show. Clearly inspired by other rock, youth-oriented musicals like RENT, Hair, and Spring Awakening. It made me want to rediscover the Green Day discography. Eventually, the night came to an end and we said goodbye to Bika.

The next day was spent exploring San Francisco. My friend Leya would not be able to meet us until after 5pm, so Brandon and I were on our own until then. We walked along Market Street. I ate my fill of free samples at the Port's farmers' market. From the Port of San Francisco. We walked along all the piers until reaching the famous Pier 39. Brandon really wanted to see the sea lions, so that's exactly what we did. From there we continued walking all the way to Fisherman's Wharf. Brandon wanted to check out Chinatown, so we took a bus back to Market Street and walked to Chinatown and Little Italy. By then it was time for us to head back to Berkeley to change into our Halloween attire. Brandon was Dexter (television's favorite serial killer, not the cartoon child genius) and I was a fancy cat. What the hell is a fancy cat, you say? I wore some dressy, trendy clothes paired with cat ears and a black eye mask. And that, my friends, is a fancy cat. Lame, I know. But I couldn't think of anything else and never had time to go to my parents' house for legitimate costumes.

We BARTed back over to San Francisco and met up with Leya. I hadn't seen Leya since last xmas. The funny thing about Leya and I is that we never see each other. She's one of my best friends, but we only see each other once a year. We've simply accepted that this is the way it's going to be and it works for us. We are great friends regardless. After meeting up with Leya and making the necessary introductions, we had dinner at Cheesecake Factory. I personally would have preferred a restaurant that wasn't a chain, but Brandon had never been to this restaurant before. Our plan was to party at the Castro and the Mission, but the famous Castro Halloween party was basically shut down ever since some guy shot people at the 2007 party. He ended up killing one person and a huge tradition. Bastard.

We walked around the Castro and Mission, but the city was really dead. After a brief interlude at a bar, we eventually met up with another friend of mine. My friend Ash invited us to a party at a local club, but we didn't end up going. Brandon just wasn't feeling up for it, so we said our goodbyes to Ash. I invited Leya to come back to Berkeley with us, but she ultimately decided to stay in the city. So I bid her adieu until next year's meeting. The night ended with Brandon and I passing out in our room while watching tv.

The next morning we left Berkeley at about 8am. We had originally intended to stop in Santa Barbara, but never did. Since we ended up taking the 5 instead of the 101 home, there were no signs announcing nearby cities. We simply forgot about Santa Barbara and didn't remember until we entered LA County. It was a big "oops moment." We decided that we would have to dedicate a future road trip just to Santa Barbara. We arrived in LA at 2pm. I was going to stick around and hang out in my old stomping grounds with Brandon, but I was pretty tired. I just wanted to get home and collapse on the couch. So I once more said goodbye to Brandon.

It was just three days and they flew by, but what a wonderful three days. The only repercussion was the aftermath of my reunion with my old friends. I was really down yesterday at work. I'm normally very introspective, but I couldn't put my finger on why I was so down in the dumps. Then I realized what was wrong. I chose to ignore the fact that my reunion was only temporary and the impact of having to once again say goodbye to my Boston friends had finally hit me. I hate goodbyes more than anything. They tear me up inside. I really wish I weren't so damn sentimental, but if I haven't been able to break this by now...

Oh well. It was good times all around. :)


- R


  1. It was wonderful seeing you guys. I was a bit down on Fri/Sat after saying goodbye...so you're not alone, I haven't been able to kick my sentimentality either. Visit again (very) soon!

  2. Sounds like you guys will just have to move to Los Angeles. :P