Day 20: On San Francisco... and renewal
Forgive me, those of you who have followed the daily blog. That spaceship held together Millennium Falcon-like across the first 20 or so, better than I would have ever imagined, and certainly longer than my plan to do thirty push ups each morning. But the crazy energy and music of the last insane, life-changing six months finally stopped last week. I left Amsterdam, and my funny offbeat life there with its dear friends who helped me through so much. I left with the confidence of someone who has moved often. New places, new countries, new languages... none of it intimidates me... or so I thought.
After the better part of a week that involved landing, setting up then moving house and the proper, longed for beginning of a new life, new relationship and all kinds of new possibilities, I've found myself breathless, and therefore blogless. Writing every day is a great exercise in output, strengthening the disciplines and warming the creative muscles, but it doesn't leave much time to think and even less to gather the strength required for the rush of newness.
Never underestimate the capacity of complete renewal to make you feel old!
San Francisco as a city is an intimidating prospect in its own right. It's a hard working place with technological innovation as its flag. It has made itself home to the giants - Facebook, Google, Twitter and a legion of other companies I haven't heard of but will soon be household names when the robots do finally take over. It is also a place of extremes. The high paid highly inflated prices of the tech bubble play out against the tented street ways of the homeless - the two co-existing in an extremely uneasy truce. California is probably the most fiercely anti-Trump state in the union, but that distrust of elites and the reshaping of an environment - gentrification, pricing out are playing out here without the safety nets of a European social system to mask the injustice - or at least, to keep it from sight.
Yesterday we watched from the window of the beautiful exorbitantly priced townhouse room rental we just moved into as seven or eight cops (Yes, I'm down with American vernacular) handcuffed a Latino guy working on a nearby building site. We couldn't say for sure what happened, but it was all too easy to imagine this as part of Trump's undocumented migrant crackdown.
As someone counting the valid days on his own documentation, this first week has really driven home the extent of the challenge ahead. Unable to take a job here and grossly under skilled for a tech-dominated environment, I find myself floating a little between the extremes. I simply don't know what my skills are worth here - something I've never really faced before. I keep my head down, burrow into the projects I brought with me while trying to keep my focus and not be seduced by the prospect of spending two hours on a linkedin application to some three figure copyrighting gig like a moth drawn toward a statistically unlikely flame.
As much as we are all drawn to the dream of the silver bullet, sometimes, the only road is the hard one. The one where you push the project across the line one slow step at a time and do what you can to keep everything going between wins. Regardless of other challenges, shifts and cultural differences - note - the bacon here is every bit as terrible as I was led to believe - the one thing I can do is write, and I'll keep doing that. I may even have to learn to do it a bit at a time instead of the blitzing I've done in previous years. Some of that writing might take place away from the blog, so I'll once again beg forgiveness if it takes me longer to get to 100, or longer to get to a place of security in this crazy new country of mine.
Time will tell...