Saturday, August 28, 2010

Christopher Walken (okay, his hair) and Me

Spent time today sitting in the car on Twin Peaks, looking down at all of San Francisco below, sunroof on the car wide open, wind blowing my hair straight up (I look like Christopher Walken, sort of…) and all the cobwebs from my mind. Just finished a couple of weeks filled with lots of work, and just agreed to start two new -- no, three -- projects.

Life, as the tee shirt says, is good.

What’s new? Soon I’ll be seeking corporate sponsors to help boost viewership of a series of short programs on conservation organizations around the world. No paperwork has been exchanged, but it’s likely I also will serve as co-author with a doctor who has a good idea for a book. And the guy who owns the best barbecue joint in town has asked for my help with his web site. (I see rib tips in my future…)

I’ll continue with my other work, of course. I’m still writing for the St. Louis Jewish Light, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (watch for a travel story coming soon), a marketing firm that publishes grocery magazines and a web site that promotes fitness. Also, I’ve been promised freelance assignments from the Jewish newspaper in San Francisco. And I applied for a temporary job writing paragraph-long blurbs on restaurants for a local weekly paper. Of course I’m still available to help out a couple of friends in business, too.

“So you’ve figured out how to piece together enough jobs to pay bills,” said a friend on Wednesday, a friend who is considering moving here and will need to do the same. I have. My income is never predictable, but money always comes. Five years ago, in October, I left the Post-Dispatch and kissed goodbye that regular paycheck. Five years ago I started seriously building on some freelance connections I’d already established, and I am still building. A little here, a little there – after a lot of hustling. I don’t make a lot, but I make enough.

The big reward is that I work for me. Working for me means that when I had a great time goofing off all day a week ago Thursday, I gave myself the day off on Friday as well. It means I can dunce around in the morning, get organized by lunchtime and then work or play according to the plan for the day – or the lack of plan for the day. I’m the boss, and when the boss decides to sit and watch episodes of “Arrested Development,” that’s the plan.

Gail put me in the lede of her recent story (see or go to and type in “Pennington Arrested”) about a movie version of the hilarious series, and that was fun. What isn’t fun is that I keep wanting to quote lines (“No touching!”) from the show, and everybody who watched it years ago is quoting lines from newer shows. If you haven’t seen “Arrested Development,” talk to TIVO or get it on Netflix. Very funny!

Don’t think I stay home all the time. I am conscious that I am not on vacation here and must continue to earn a living, but I’m making time to walk to my gym in Cole Valley and take my bus to yoga class. On Thursday, my bus chose not to come, so the cat and I did yoga in the living room because by the time I realized the bus had abandoned me, it was too late to try to drive to the recreation center.

I forgive the bus for that one incident. Picture this: Me climbing on a bus with a small bag of nectarines, bread and eggs in one hand and a 10-pound jug of kitty litter in the other. Or this: Me climbing on a bus with a brand new fan in a box to help circulate air on the three days a year when the wind for some reason ceases to blow here. Here’s the deal – my bus is rarely crowded, and I profusely thank the driver for being patient with me. Hey, I am not the only person my age boarding a bus with a bunch of stuff. It’s common here. It works. I like it.

Plus, missing a bus is a good reason to walk. Last week I missed the bus that goes up the huge hill to my apartment. I didn’t want to wait 20 minutes for the next bus, so I opted to walk seven blocks to Haight-Ashbury and check out the tie dye selection at a resale shop. The sun was shining, the air was cool and pleasant -- and what’s not to like about tie dye? Later, I took the bus back up the hill.

Yesterday was a Drive Day. I stacked up errands and knocked them off, one at a time. First I drove to the recycling center to donate some items I’m not using. The process of moving here (regular readers remember me whining about that process, often) has made me more adamant than ever: If I’m not using it, I’m not keeping it. Period. Next I dropped off my medical records from St. Louis with a doc I will see in October. Then I went to the Oceanic Society office to meet with the director.

On the way home, I had planned to stop at a store near me for a few things. Instead, I found a parking place in the Marina, a neighborhood I had not yet explored. San Francisco is full of small business districts with independently owned shops, restaurants and groceries. I walked and window-shopped for about 40 minutes, getting to know the area. Then I ducked into a grocery, got what I needed and drove home.

Today I returned calls, paid bills, wrote a few note cards to friends back home – and then drove to the top of the hill high (900-plus feet) above my new home. And I let the wind pull all the curl from my hair. Why not?

No comments:

Post a Comment