March 11, 2003

It's funny how easy it is to get into a routine. I suppose it's human nature--a routine can be comforting. Even living in San Francisco, where there are innumerable interesting things to do any night of the week, it's easy to slip into what's easy. A lot of nights I come home straight from work, usually worn out, and fiddle around at home before eventually going to bed. Most weekends I do some combination of four things--see a movie, see a friend, see my parents, go shopping. There are other activities of course--watch movies on the DVD, do laundry, take a walk, if I'm good I do some writing, if I'm very good I do some cleaning, etc.

Recently I've been getting out of the routine a little. I've been doing some things that seem to me uniquely San Franciscan--or at least characteristically San Franciscan.

A few weeks ago I went sailing. My friend John Paul lives on his boat and he offered to take me and my friend Angie sailing. I'd never been before. I'd been on power boats and ferries but never sailing. So it was exciting.

It turned out to be a gorgeous day, quite warm and sunny. John Paul's boat lives in a marina in San Rafael so Angie and I drove out there, picking up lunch on the way, and arrived more or less on time for our sail.

There had been quite a bit of wind the day before and John Paul informed us that his jib had broken so we'd be going out on one sail. We didn't really know what that meant. We soon discovered it meant that if there wasn't much wind, we wouldn't go very fast.

John Paul let me drive the boat down the channel and out into the bay. Once we were out in the bay, JP put the sail up and Angie drove for awhile. Then we switched off again. We weren't moving very fast--JP said it was about the speed of the current. But if felt great to us.

We went past some little islands and under a bridge then headed back. JP put it on auto pilot for awhile and we all just sat on the bow in the sun soaking it up. It was supremely relaxing and lovely just being out on the water. I can't wait to do it again.

Valentine's weekend my friend Susan went to the peace march downtown. It was the weekend there were marches all over the world, but SF had the march on Sunday unlike everyone else. It was the weekend of the Chinese New Year parade as well and they got Saturday. That alone is somehow very SF to me.

We met down at the Embarcadero, thousands and thousands of us, and marched up Market Street to the Civic Center. Almost everyone had signs, some very clever, some had costumes, gas masks, huge masks... I told Susan it seemed like Bay to Breakers with a more serious intent. We talked about politics for a lot of the march and just generally chatted.

At the end there were speeches. Danny Glover was there. Local politicians spoke. We sadly missed Joan Baez and Alice Walker and Bonnie Raitt. But who knows, there's another march this weekend--maybe I'll get another chance.

Last night I went to see a Balinese Gamelan group at a nearly free ($5 suggested donation) lecture and demonstration of their musical form. It seemed like something that you wouldn't see anywhere else--just so unique. They're in town to perform their new theatrical piece later this month and agreed to do this lecture at the SF Performing Arts Library.

They talked about their instruments and demonstrated how the music is always played by at least two people because two people can play faster and more interesting melodies than one. They demonstrated their dance form which includes large eye movements as part of the dance. One man did a mask dance and also did some amazing singing. We were all so impressed we decided to go see their performance.

It's interesting to me how once you start trying new things you just want to keep doing new things. Susan invited me to a Persian New Year party. I'm going to do karaoke later this week. I'm going for bloody marys with a coworker on Sunday. Angie and I are trying our hands at jewelry making. I'm starting a Spanish class in April.

All you need to break out of routine is to break out of it. I hope I can keep it up. I'm loving my San Francisco life.

Posted by Alyssa at March 11, 2003 09:54 PM
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