I'll elaborate, but if two words were all I was allotted in my description of the trip, those would be sufficient. The City itself is wonderful, the weather is mostly pleasant and comfortable, the people are friendly and hip (much like Toronto), and it's overall a very inviting, welcoming place. Kaia's family is as I expected: warm, caring and attentive. I got to see a good friend of mine who happens to live in the city, and it's been years since I last saw him, so getting a chance to say hello -- in person -- was really great as well. And, of course, last but far from least, Kaia herself made the trip worthwhile. As I advised her numerous times over the course of the last week (and before as well), even if she lived in Idaho I would have been happy to visit her just to be able to spend time with her until she is a permanent New York City resident.
Expounding on that theme, the truth is that San Fran, besides being a wonderful city, is largely irrelevant. The real key to why the past week or so was so amazing is that she and I just work. Every time we spend a week or two or three together -- mostly 24-7 joint expositions -- we largely do nothing but smile. As per usual, we spent the entire visit together, save for an hour or two I spent watching TV late while she went to bed early (to be joined soon thereafter by me). In the mornings, I ran downstairs to a nearby breakfast place -- Noah's or a deli down Chestnut Street -- if she didn't feel like getting up, but for the most part, we were together for seven straight days. In fact, the biggest chunk of time we spent apart was my jaunt to see the Yankees with her father -- which represented about six hours. Otherwise, we were locked at the hip. And not once did we have anything even remotely resembling an argument.
The negative Nancy in me considered this carefully, wondering if the reason for this magical, peaceful symbiosis was in fact a result of our visits being spent during conditions other than "real life." Except we've spent time together -- large blocks thereof like this one -- where one or both of us has had to go to an office and do work and attend to real-world responsibilities. In those cases, our responsibilities have been relaxed a bit -- I've managed to take a half-day here and there when she's in town, and she worked from home on days that she would otherwise be in her office -- but the fact is that we've handled the time we've spent together thus far with such complete comfort and ease that it's obvious we're a perfect match. And while it makes us both very happy to acknowledge that, it almost -- almost -- frightens me to know that there is someone who knows what I'm thinking, how I'll react, and how I feel inside without a word being exchanged or even as much as a glance. Why it doesn't frighten me is because I have that same knowledge of who she is: what she's thinking, how she's feeling, her hopes, her dreams, her goals and everything that makes her who she is.
And that is a daunting, monumental power to have over someone else. But as Billy Joel revealed in his 1995 song "Shameless," sometimes it feels good to know there's a person who is there as your safety net, your human blanket, your warmth, your confidant and your helping hand, even if it means surrendering some measure of your autonomy and your control over your life proper. As he sang, "I'm shameless, I don't have the power now, but I don't want it anyhow, so I've got to let it go."
I think, given the cyclone I endured a year ago, I've learned where I made my mistake. I (voluntarily or otherwise) entered into a situation where I didn't want to be, with someone I didn't really respect, care for or even admire and who had, for lack of a better phrase, no sense of identity and no ability to enjoy life. Now that I've found the perfect person for me, I'm -- thankfully -- in a position to understand, appreciate and cherish her and how she fits into my life and me into hers. We still have details to address and timing to work out, but those logistics -- her moving to New York, us getting a place together, getting engaged, and making a life together -- will all come. To yet again quote Billy Joel, in "This Is The Time," he sang "I'm warm from the memories of days to come." Now -- right this minute, more than ever -- I fully understand what he meant. With the knowledge of being with the right -- the only -- person, nothing is ever insurmountable. I feel, in some respects, like I've reached a new level of consciousness, and as irritating and arrogant as that might sound -- I swear, Oprah, I'm just jumping up and down on this couch on national TV to tell the truth -- it's how I feel.
I like California.
* * * * *
If the sun refused to shine, I would still be loving you.
- Led Zeppelin, "Thank You"
Well I'm shameless when it comes to loving you
I'd do anything you want me to
I'd do anything at all
And I'm standing here for all the world to see
There ain't that much left of me
That has very far to fall
You know I'm not a man who has ever been
Insecure about the world I've been living in
I don't break easy, I have my pride
But if you need to be satisfied
I'm shameless, baby I don't have a prayer
Anytime I see you standing there
I go down upon my knees
And I'm changing, I swore I'd never compromise
But you convinced me otherwise
I'll do anything you please
You see in all my life I've never found
What I couldn't resist, what I couldn't turn down
I could walk away from anyone I ever knew
But I can't walk away from you
I have never let anything have this much control over me
Cause I worked too hard to call my life my own
Yes I made myself a world and it worked so perfectly
But it's your world now, I can't refuse
I never had so much to lose
You know it should be easy for a man who's strong
To say he's sorry or admit when he's wrong
I've never lost anything I ever missed
But I've never been in love like this...
It's out of my hands...
I'm shameless, I don't have the power now
But I don't want it anyhow
So I've got to let it go
I'm shameless, shameless as a man can be
You can make a total fool of me
I just wanted you to know
- Billy Joel, "Shameless"