Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Looking for Adventure in The Haight

I check my watch. 6:03 p.m. Had we really been walking for 37 minutes? With my knee-length, coral-colored skirt flapping in the late afternoon wind gusts, and my gold sandals burning holes in the sides of my feet with each agonizing step, I work up the courage to ask, “Are you sure we’re going the right way?” It was the third time I’d asked this question in the last 37 minutes, the other two times less bluntly.

“Yes, Meghan,” Alexa says, exhausted. Her course blond tresses fasten together in a tight pony tail, and she sports a pair of dark Levi’s and rubber flip flops. As always, her toenails are perfectly pedicured. But today dust and soot cake the tops her feet. “How many times do I have to tell you? I know where I’m going.” She removes a loose strand of hair from her mouth. The wind picks up.

Well ex-cuse me, but how can anyone “know where she’s going” in a city that she just moved to yesterday? Correction, hadn’t even moved to. After all, we were still homeless, living with friends while searching for the perfect jobs that would yield enough money for rent. We couldn’t secure an apartment without steady incomes, but we couldn’t get jobs without experience (or an apartment) – and of course we couldn’t gain experience without jobs. It’s a cruel world we live in.

We were headed to Maijken’s for a "girl's night," looking for available apartments on the way. Too broke for a cab and much too adventuresome for the dollar-fifty, 20-minute bus ride (which sounded pretty good right about then), we’d decided to go by foot. So we walked. And walked. And walked.

By 6:26 p.m., we found ourselves on the streets of Haight and Ashbury. Unbeknown to me, this spot was historic. I wondered, why are so many tourists snapping photos of themselves under these street signs? (I’d find out soon enough.) Smelly hippies and Street Kids lined the graffiti-stained block, most of them huddled in a circle, passing joints back and forth. The air reeked of marijuana and Escape From New York Pizza. Through the crowd, I spotted Maijken’s boisterous blond hair, which was thrown together wildly in a makeshift up-do, her trademark look. We followed it until we reached her front door.

The inside smelled better than the street. Maijken had it all: bright hardwood floors, bay windows, a modern sofa facing an oversized plasma TV, and a bedroom with a fire escape that would double as a deck during her future parties. Multiple candles burned delicately on the mantle above the gas fireplace, emitting a grown-up aroma.

Holy cow.

She sure looked and sounded like the Maijken I knew from the University of Oregon, but she lived in this suave flat. Coming straight from a house with six college girls – where week-old beer cans lived between the sofa cushions and ants roamed the kitchen cabinets – this place was better than the Taj Mahal. How could I get one?

And now I have to edit one of my sister’s college papers (which she asked me to look at for the first time this morning, because it’s due today, of course), so, until tomorrow...

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  1. what a fun night that was! "All the single ladies..." ahahaha