I have a terrible memory. I attribute it to two things: my alcohol-addled brain and my constant focus on the now versus the past. Either way, there are times I want to remember. Want to keep crisp edges on. So I write about them.
I went to San Francisco for a conference. It was a big one. Dreamforce ’11 saw 40,000 people descend on the Moscone Centre and turn it into a hive of geeks talking cloud computing, CRM, data purity and analytics. It was epic awesome sauce, yet even the magnitude of Dreamforce was eclipsed by the wonder that is San Fran. It’s a city where anything goes, and where I felt like I could go anywhere.
I biked 22 kilometres from the Hotel Rex (in itself a gem, any hotel with a literary theme and resident pug score high in my books) across the Golden Gate bridge. Anyone seeking a moment – the kind where you need to pinch yourself from sheer astonishment at being in a place and time that is awe-inspiring – needs to pedal their way across the span. Doing so in a chill cloud of fog amps the experience to defining moment status. Standing there while wisps of fog and ghosts of bridge denizens past wafted around me was eerie and magical.
I saw the Palace of Fine Arts lit up at night and looking like something from a fairy tale. I watched huge breakers crush into foam on the rocks at the Presidio while crazies surfed in the dark. I saw the sunrise while running along the Embarcadero. I realized you can see right into Giant stadium from ground level. I hung out in Union Square watching cable cars, went to a party at the MOMA, shopped and will worry about that when my MasterCard bill arrives. I met friendly natives, thought the street performers were especially talented, and fell in love with Samovar tea lounge.
Maybe it’s the mode I am in, of squeezing as much living as possible into the days I am given. Maybe it’s the magic of a city that isn’t pretending to be something it’s not. Either way, San Francisco was rejuvenating and exciting for me. I feel a shiver of thrill when I mentally flip through the moments I collected. They are like little gifts, each a freeze frame capture of something I felt and didn’t know I needed.