Last week on a work-related trip I journeyed to San Francisco. After checking into my room and unpacking my suitcase, I strolled to Dolores Park to sit in my tree.
When I lived in Duboce Triangle during 2008, I found a tree at the top of the park, one that commanded an impressive view of the mighty San Francisco, and like a conquistador, I claimed it as mine. I knew it wasn’t really mine because I would sometimes have to wait for some squatter to crawl out of its branches, undoubtedly claiming my tree as their own. GRRRrrrrrr.
Nevertheless, the tree and I had reached an understanding that we belonged to each other. Though I had decided I would not remain a full-time San Francisco resident, this one tree would be my sole claim on the fabled fog city. For a few months in 2008, I would sit in my tree and wonder about The Other Life, the life where I stayed.
I’m sure all of us have another life, a dozen other lives, where we wonder about our world if we had accepted a different marriage proposal, pursued that inspired and ridiculous dream of forest ranger in Hawaii, if we had said, “Yes,” to some life invitation instead of “No.” I’m not sure that these are always regrets, because even today I could reverse my decision and live in San Francisco, but that’s not what I want. I just want to wonder about The Other Life and how SF Edmond lives.
I think SF Edmond has a lover named Tyler and they argue about laundry and money. Tyler never shuts off the basement light after getting clothes out of the dryer and it bugs the shit out of me, but I have to accept that it’s just one of “his things.” But c’mon, man, turn off the fucking light. I also believe that resentment dissolves when Tyler strokes the back of my head while we’re watching TV and when he makes me lasagna because he knows it’s one of my favorites.
I wonder about this Other Life and if I am happy there, satisfied.
There’s a guilty pleasure in wondering about those roads not taken. Maybe the pleasure is actually dangerous, to live wondering if there’s a “grass is greener” life that was not selected. To spend too much time with these wonderings is to shit on this current life, to not witness its miracles and opportunities to grow something real.
In The Other Life I probably have a house payment, crappy job situations, fights with friends, and I’m guessing cancer, aging, and grief. But I bet The Other Life also has best friends and surprise birthday parties, too. Probably black licorice. Most definitely cheese fries.
I walked to Dolores Park last week to sit in my tree and visit SF Edmond. Gotta catch up on the news about Tyler and gigs I’ve played in clubs. (In The Other Life, I play the piano like a madman.) But when I arrived at my spot, my tree – my tree – was gone. The bastards cut it down. Even in The Other Life, shit happens.
So, I choose mine.