Alexa and I look around Maijken’s beautiful living room, which is located directly above Sunshine Wine & Liquor on Haight Street. Its open floor plan and fireplace turn us green with envy. Then we hear six shrieks coming from the bedroom.
The voices are familiar, like the ones we’d heard for four years straight in our sorority house, Delta Gamma, at the University of Oregon. Sure enough, six DGs pop out from behind the bedroom door, their arms outstretched.
“So good to see you ladies!” they all say at different times.
Each girl holds an extremely large glass of cheap red wine, and Alexa and I hug them one by one. There’s Gina, Kelly, Jenna, Vanessa, Nicole, and Heron.
“So are you, like, officially moving to the city?” Vanessa asks with a high-pitched inflection, her eyes wide with excitement. She graduated a year before we did and lives in the city with three other DGs.
“Yeah. We’re just looking for jobs now,” I reply. My indifferent tone sounds awkward against her enthusiasm, and my eyes drop in embarrassment. I don’t want to tell her where I applied that afternoon (at the ant-infested construction company in Hunter’s Point), especially when she probably has some impressive public relations job. So I start blabbing about my internship at the Bay Guardian instead. About how I’m writing these really awesome stories about restaurants and bars in the Bay Area, plus I get to cover International Parking Day and a gay wedding for a department piece. It will run in next week’s paper. I’ll take an environmental angle, but I’ll throw some politics in there too. After all, the bill to ban gay marriage could very well pass this November, and –
What’s that old saying? Fake it ‘til you make it? I’m sooo faking it right now. Talking myself up like I’m about to win a Pulitzer. Uh-huh, I’m a big-shot writer at the newspaper. And I think it’s working! They’re impressed! Here I am, fresh out of college and practically interviewing Mayor Newsom on a weekly basis. (Actually, my friend got to speak with him yesterday, so it wasn't a complete lie.)
Vanessa yawns. So does Jenna. Side chatter fires up next to me. Apparently they’re not as impressed with my fake-it-til-you-make-it act as I thought. This is my cue to wander to the kitchen and grab an oversized wine glass from the counter. Maijken graciously fills it with more vino than Martha Stewart would deem appropriate. (I’ve been known to rifle through the pages of her magazine – and watch her show on NBC Bay Area, weekdays at 11 a.m. – in my spare time.)
Maijken, Alexa and me on Maijken's balcony (a.k.a. fire escape).
“You don’t want to be farther south than SoMa,” she says, looking firmly at Alexa, “or father west than The Haight or Pac Heights.”
I know what Alexa’s thinking: Where’s Pac Heights? And SoMa? We’re stressed enough just looking at listings on Craigslist without having to figure out where the apartments are located. Frankly, it doesn’t matter. We can’t afford a two-bedroom for $2,800 a month (which seems to be the going rate in San Francisco), so we’re happy to find something for less. No matter where it is.
Maijken decides she’s heard enough. It’s time to move the party to Cha Cha Cha, the hip tapas restaurant and bar on the corner…