(I have been putting this one off. Yet another lengthy post where michele drones on for pages on end.)
Many of you know what I’m about to say. Actually, many of you (who leave comments or email me regularly) are people I either know well or have had a long online relationship with (and somehow, you manage to not despise me enough – Charlie, I’m talking to you – and leave forever). Many of you know what TobyJoe and I have been going through lately. Should you not, I am going to try my hardest to explain.
When I got back to San Francisco two weeks ago, I got off that plane with a very clear head. I was excited about returning here. I even missed this city I have often said is shrugging its mountainy shoulders meeting the hair-like fog. But it didn’t take long until I realized how unhappy Toby had become. I realized he wasn’t really enjoying his daily life any longer. I realized it was taking a lot out of him. I realized the only reason he was still getting up to go to work every day was for me, or us, rather.
The first hint was found on his hands. Toby has a nail-biting problem. He has for a long, long time. Behind my computer display right now, I can see him chewing on them while writing PHP. There are times where he does it when he’s thinking really hard. As Natalie Portman might say should she ever play an adorable quirky New Jersey girl in a movie written by Zack Braff, I have often thought,
You’re in it right now, aren’t you?
And usually he is.
This time, I realized he was moving away from his nails and eating his hands. His fingers were chewed to pieces. They were begging for help. I said the same thing he did for me three months ago.
This job is hurting you. It’s not working out. You should call it a quits.
San Francisco is expensive. I’m sure everyone knows that. With the both of us being out of work, it would be very hard for us to make enough money to pay our rent, our bills, and our taxes come April. Saving money might be impossible on top of all that. And while Toby is both needed and very good at what he does, I was just not sure we should try and stay here to make ends meet. He began looking elsewhere, i.e. back east.
But I don’t want you to think we gave up that quickly. I applied to numerous jobs here over the past few months. Since I left Gay.com (yes, I worked for Gay.com.) and haven’t heard word back from anyone (except for two teaching gigs which didn’t pan out for reasons too long to go into now.) I have been told that many design jobs get anywhere from 100 to 500 applicants a day. With those odds, I am no longer surprised that I am unemployed.
As I became increasingly more frustrated, Toby was being offered (good) jobs back east. We started talking. Staying here could mean financial worry. Moving is a pain in the ass. Plus, we weren’t (still not) sure we were ready to leave. We said we’d live here for a year. It has only been 6 months. That’s sad. I won’t deny this.
After a lot of talk, we decided to take one of the offers because choosing door number 2 and staying here to see where we end up had me worried. (I watched the Price is Right long enough to know that most contestants should have just stuck to the first one.) The risk just seemed too great, especially being this far away from family.
It’s now Wednesday night and I am feeling bittersweet as I am writing this. I am still not sure we’re making the right choice. Toby has offers from two places, one in D.C., and the other in NYC. While I have missed NYC since the day we decided to leave, I am also very aware that DC has been absolutely wonderful to us. DC really fit our needs. Sure, it got a bit boring at times, but who can dislike the land of Taxation without Representation? It’s impossible to not like DC should you spend some time there.
I think we have made our final decision. But that doesn’t mean it’s the right one or the one we feel absolutely certain about. But I’m trying not to live my life looking at possible regret all the time. I have done that all of my life and I have yet to regret one decision I have ever made.
On Monday, Toby called our landlord and told them about what was happening. They were surprisingly amazing about the whole situation. Given the impending holiday season, and after talking with them for a bit, we decided that sooner would be better, financially (for us and everyone involved). I called Door-to-Door movers. I got the same guy we worked with six months ago. I booked two blue bins. They are being dropped off on the 21st of this month. I called Avis. We have a one-way car rental on hold for that week as well.
Today, five people stopped by for our first “Open House” and one woman has already applied to take it over. Before we had the chance to even contemplate our decision, the ball was set in motion, smoothly, I might add. Now, there is no turning back.
Suddenly, San Francisco is being set behind me just as I was getting used to her.
Now, I know that many of you probably think,
Oh this is a dream come true for her! All she did was bitch and moan!
You’re right about that last part. I can’t and won’t try and take that back. But the first part isn’t true. I will be sad to see this place get smaller in my rear view mirror. I will miss her fog, the weird non-rainy yet rainy days, the neighborhood, and all its babies. I will miss the apartment most of all. It is lovely. I will miss the friends me made here. I’ll miss San Francisco wholeheartedly. (Maybe not all the crepe places, though.) And while I am guilty of using this Web site to rant and rave about how miserable I am, I am not miserable all the time. There is only a slice of life shown on a blog. And maybe I use this site and paint one ugly picture of the inside of my head.
I don’t wish to be remembered as the girl who hated San Francisco, but as the girl who talked a little bit too much about how lonely she was, how much trouble she had fitting in, and how hard it was to let go of her past.
On September 9th, 2002, a few days before we left NYC, (the post I linked to above), I wrote:
Friday turned out to be a day of therapy. I can’t say that I feel better about everything, but I can say I understand that I don’t understand and I may not for a long while. I may never. I do know that I love the people I love and that I can’t always plan for things to make sense or walk towards them and know what they will look like once I get there. And I’m not sure what the future holds for me or it or here or there. And I’m not sure I won’t be back.
Sometimes I personify this city. And lately, part of my turmoil is thinking that I may actually be turning my back on it, leaving it in a shelter for someone else to try and love. I don’t know. But for now, I have to figure out that I’m not as angry as I have been and that I can relax again.
By this time next month, we will have completed a full circle. I’m forcing myself to look at it this way.
Otherwise, my head might explode.
(Now, you can go ahead and compare us to pastries and croissants.)