The following online journal entries are from February 1999.
They are taken from older version of my website.
"With the start of the new year, I started a new chapter in my life. After living in Maryland and the Washington, DC metropolitan area for twenty-eight years, I decided to make a change, to head for a different horizon, to embark on a great adventure. On January 5, 1999, I boarded a plane for San Francisco. In a matter of hours, I was on different soil and on a new path. Many of the entries from January to March are drawn from my written journal. I hope the best for my journey and I hope you find some pleasure and some power in reading about my travails. Cheers."
--from my last website, 1999
Wednesday. 9:10 PM. It's been about a week since I last made an entry. I made a short one by hand in my journal but I haven't felt very verbal lately.
It's nearly officially a month since I've been in SF. And not much has changed in the way of where I'm living and what I'm doing. I'm still struggling with the whole job market and housing market.
What have I been doing all week? Not a whole lot, actually.
I had been sleeping on the futon out in the living room. But, after Beth got back from her trips, Sarah and I decided that it would be best if I maintained as low a profile in the house as possible. So, I moved into Sarah's room. She sleeps on the bed and I sleep on a futon mattress on the other side of the room. We rearranged the room to suit both of our needs. It's been working out quite well.
I went out on a second date with Mark. This was a couple of Mondays ago. He picked me up from Pacifica and we drove into the city. It was kind of late but not too bad. We stopped at a Blockbusters to get a movie. We decided to watch Billy's Hollywood Screen Kiss. We went back to Mark's apartment. It's in a very nice area -- north of the Castro. His apartment building was very swanky and his apartment was pretty spacious. He has a roommate but he wasn't there when we got in. We watched the movie. It was pretty good. Lots of cute boys. It makes me want to buy a Polaroid camera now. I'm not quite sure what it says about "gayness" and "straightness" as the beginning of the movie claims to elucidate. I'd have to watch it again.
Mark got a little closer. We sat very comfortably on the couch. He held my hand and I leaned a little on him. The movie definitely was stimulating in parts. It's always interesting to watch a movie with an erotic scene with someone whom there is an attraction. Titillating to say the least. I guess I'm attracted to Mark but not completely. I think he's a sweet guy, very well-mannered, high on the chivalry, and definitely stable. But, I just don't think we have enough in common. We don't share the same place in life. I don't know.
After the movie, we talked a little bit. And he got a little bolder with his touching. So, we made out for a while. There was a lot of kissing and massaging and smiling and chuckling. It was very playful and I had a good time. He was definitely ready to go much farther than a little making out. But, he needed to pick up a friend of his from downtown and I didn't really want to get to any other base beyond third.
It's a week later and I really haven't heard from him. I tried calling him a couple of days ago but I got his voicemail. I think I'll write him a little email and see what is going on.
I found a couple of good leads on apartments in the city. One was in the Alamo Square district -- I guess it would be the Lower Haight -- and was very inexpensive. Sarah and I went to see it last Thursday. It was in a big building right on the corner of Scott and Hayes, right along the park. The apartment basically was three bedrooms, a bathroom, a front hallway, and a kitchen. The room was decently sized, had a window, but did not have a closet. The interview with the lease-holder went allright. Unfortunately, it was a bit farther out than I wanted to be. But, I was willing to take it. Doubly unfortunate, I did not get the place. He rented it to someone else.
This past Sunday, I went to an open house with Sarah to see a place in the Mission, close to the Castro. It was on Sanchez between 17th and 18th and was very convenient to all the places that I liked to go. Open houses are very unnerving. We got the place a little after 3 PM. It's a nice building. The apartment is the top floor. We were met by two of the roommates: Emily and Dee Dee. The third roommate, Rob, was at work. The room was small. Only about 9' x 9' but had a small closet, faced the front of the building, and had a nice window. The apartment was clean, well kept up, had a common room, and a good kitchen. There were other people looking at the place, too. It was strange trying to vie for attention, to make sure you were noticed, to try to be yourself and at the same time sell yourself as the best possible candidate. I really liked Emily and she was the one that answered my email. She had actually gone to my website and we chatted a bit. Dee Dee was a bit more reserved and I'm not sure if she liked me or not. I applied for the apartment with a full credit report. I also sent them a copy of my resume and a little thank you card for letting me come by the place. I should know about the room sometime this week. Hopefully, I'll find out tomorrow. I really would like to live there. It's a nice flat and I really like where it's located. The rent is mighty cheap, too.
I've been fighting a lot of negative energy. I'm just trying to keep my spirits up. It's been an uphill battle. But, I try. There are days where I do get really tired and cranky and depressed and feel just plain out-of-sync.
Sarah and I go to the coffee house a lot. Espresso Bravo has really become a haven for me. Tobie left last weekend. It was pretty sad. I just made a decent friend and she's off for a month. But, Niall is still working there. But, he leaves this weekend coming up. He's been cool company. In fact, I'm meeting all of his Irish friends that are about. There are a lot of them in the city. Niall says that after Boston and Chicago, the Irish like San Francisco. He's got a friend named Mo (short for Maurice Maloney -- Maurice is pronounced the French way and not the UK way, which sounds more like "Morris"). He's really a handsome man with a genuine demeanor. He's tall. Over 6'4", lanky build, shaved head, dark hair, great toothy smile, and a twinkle in his eye. He makes me laugh. It's the Irish humor I think. And the fact that when he talks just listening to him makes me a bit weak in the knees. He's really cute. I'm really glad to have met him.
Actually, I'm picking up a bit of the accent from both Niall and Mo (and the rest of their Irish lot). My language is a bit more musical and my word choices are very UK. It's pretty amusing. I'll just have to say "bullocks" a lot and "shite" and "bugger off" and all that.
Niall received really sad news this past weekend. He was planning on leaving SF to go to Latin America for a bit. But, he got a call from his mother from Ireland. His father is seriously ill and in hospital. The doctors thought that it was a kidney stone. But, it seems to be more serious than that. It might be cancer. Niall is flying home on Sunday. He's getting all of this stuff together. He's buying a lot of stuff to take home with him. He's got a great attitude. He was saying how he was straining his brain and stressing about planning his trip to Latin America. Now, he says, it really doesn't matter. All of his choices and decisions have been made for him. He has to go home. It's what is most important now. He was telling me a little bit about his family. He's the second eldest of five sons. His father has always been a fit man -- according to Niall -- someone who didn't smoke, didn't drink much, ate well. It could be stress related, he said. His father works very, very hard.
Thursday. 10:08 AM. I'm not having a very good morning. Last night was a pretty rough night for me. I don't know why exactly. I laid down to go to sleep last night and suddenly was overcome by difficult breathing. I felt like I couldn't get any air. I sat up and it helped. But, my breathing was very shallow and my chest felt really congested. It freaked me out. I felt like if I fell asleep, I would somehow forget to breathe or I would stop breathing altogether. So, I got up and took an anti-histamine and relaxed a bit. It was very distressing. I panicked and it just didn't help my state. I felt really alone and I felt suffocated. I started to cry a bit. But, I just searched for center and eventually relaxed. The medicine helped and I finally fell asleep.
The rest of the night was restless, though. I know I had a couple of pretty anxious dreams. But, I don't remember much of them. I know one of my dreams had Mami in it. And whenever she appears in my dreams, I know my life is pretty stressed out. I wish I really could remember the dream. I'm always interested in what she says and does, what my mind envisions, and how her spirit touches my life.
I had another dream where I was going back to school. I don't recall whether it was high school or college. It was a mix of both, I think. I was late for a class. I got to class, sat down, and the teacher made a wisecrack about getting to class on-time. The class was being taught by a beautiful Irish woman named Susan O'Sullivan. She had a thick Irish accent and she talked a mile a minute. I remember in the dream I knew she was a total hardass but the class was supposed to be fantastic. She started writing fragments of her thoughts on the board. And my notes were totally a mess. I couldn't keep up and she just talked and talked and talked. Definitely an anxiety dream. I don't know what about, though.
The whole Irish thing is definitely an influence from all the Irish folks I've been meeting.
I'm applying to the City College of San Francisco. I'm hoping to get a part-time or full-time teaching position there. They have a few instructor positions opening up in English and the Humanities. I really want a position. They pay relatively well. I guess the whole application process is probably what is making me nervous and anxious. I don't have a Master's degree and I have to apply with an Equivalency Form. I have four and a half years of teaching experience plus other kinds of university experience that should get me the position. I hope so. It would be great to get a job teaching again.
Thursday. 10:43 PM. Another day done. Another day without a job or a home of my own.
I'm tired. I'm hoping that last night's panic attack doesn't repeat itself.
I spent most of the day in a totally grumpy mood. I wasn't happy with anything.
I still am a bit grumpy. I feel totally still. Sarah and I got into a long conversation about what to do about our living situation. While I was making noodles and soup, we talked. It was a good conversation. I told her that I felt stuck. I felt like I wasn't getting anything done. I felt like I needed to be in the city. I came to SF for that reason. And a month in Pacifica is enough. I said I wanted to be more proactive, to jump into things, to take a calculated risk. I thought we could get a place ourselves and work out the details as we go. Sarah really wants to live with me. Our energy is good and we totally click. Our humor is compatible. And we play off of one another easily. But, she and Laura are supposed to move in together. There definitely is a conflict of interests.
I'm just tired. I'm really frustrated by the whole apartment search. I think I'm a good person and I am responsible. I think I would make a great roommate. But, without a job, people are nervous. Or they don't sync with my appearance or sensibilities. I don't know. I really don't. Blah.
I have a headache right now.
I hottubbed with Sarah. I thought it would help me relax. My body is warm and lazy. But, my mind is still racing. My brain hurts.
After a really late lunch and after watching Rosie, Sarah and I went to the beach for a while. It was really windy and the surf was choppy. Strangely, there were no surfers out. None. I don't think I've ever seen that beach devoid of surfers. After the beach, we went into the city to Espresso Bravo.
We hung out. I had a skinny decaf mocha. It was good. The day before, I had the same thing with a shot of creme de menthe. It was very tasty. It was neat seeing Niall. I can't believe he's leaving on Sunday. We're going to go see him tomorrow. Friday night is his last night working.
Braxton worked tonight. She's new. She just started this week. She's pretty nice. She's tall, blonde, fresh-faced, quiet, quirky; she's a little soft-voiced and I think a bit of a stoner. At least that's the impression she gives. But, I like her.
I missed seeing Mo. He wasn't in today. Niall didn't know where he was. Oh well. There's always next time.
I talked to Nancy today. I called her from the café on Sarah's cell phone. She sounded okay. She was sick with the flu. But, it was really good to hear a different voice. It was nice to talk about different things. Besides, I like hearing about what's going on at Maryland. Talking to her put me in a better mood. I hope she feels better soon. Though, I really do miss her. I miss going to the movies with her. She went to see the movie Shakespeare in Love and I felt a little jealous because I wasn't there to share the experience with her.
I'm definitely pretty tired. Sigh.
I'm sad, too.
I got a package from Alenda today. She sent me a card to tell me that she missed me and that she was thinking about me while I was in SF. She wrote that she loved me and that soon she'd be in the same city as me. It was a lovely gesture. She also sent me a Jump.com t-shirt (Jump.com is the web site and online system that her company launched a couple of weeks ago). She sent me a package of chocolate covered biscotti (since I was hanging out at a coffee shop so much). And she sent me a deck of "Bartender's Cards," which have pictures and recipes for a whole bunch of different drinks (so, if I do become a bartender, I'll know what I'm doing). It was nice to have that contact.
I also got a pretty long email from Hugh today. He's not doing well. He's been sick and then he got his wisdom teeth pulled. He's been worried about his internship. He's not getting along well with Ken and his living situation is terrible. He also wrote that he totally misses me and all of the other friends that are away. It was hard to read. I need to write him back and try to give him some sense that I'm still behind him. I have his back. I really miss him, too.
© 2001 Edmond Y. Chang. All original material. All rights reserved.
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