December 7, 2010

*I posted this article exactly one year ago. The following things have happened to me since: I am now a full-time employee at the same company (not an intern), I live in San Francisco, my trusty streetwise map has been replaced by my iPhone. Today, December 7, 2011 is my company’s Holiday party. I wonder what else will be the same! 

Day. n. A period of twenty-four hours as a unit of time, reckoned from one midnight to the next, corresponding to a rotation of the earth on its axis.

Year. n. The time taken by a planet to make one revolution around the sun. The length of the earth’s year depends on the manner of calculation…The period of 365 days (or 366 days in leap years) starting from the first of January, used for reckoning time in ordinary affairs.

Imperfect, long, fun, difficult, exciting and nonstop my day, Tuesday, December 7th, was not an extraordinary one. But it warrants being written about because, if I only ever wrote about the truly novel things that happen to me, I would hardly ever write about my personal life! Sometimes, the mundane humdrum should be honored, and then turned into a form of digital posterity so that 22nd century humans (or zombie aliens) can have a glimpse into the life of an ordinary person on a nondescript day.

The best thing about the day was the weather, which I love because it is also the one thing that I had absolutely no control over. It was the perfect balance between clear and foggy; driving over the bridge at 9:00 a.m. I could see a peak of crystal blue sky (the color that really makes the Golden Gate pop, a.k.a. postcard perfect blue) but the fog was still rolling over the water, making the city’s skyline misty and moody. By the time I started climbing up Divisadero a few minutes later, I could see a clear shot of the Marina in my rear-view mirror. Awesome.

I didn’t want my commute to end thanks to my latest discovery/obsession, Sam Sparro’s electro indie pop self-titled album, but I was fortunate enough to be running a few minutes early for work, something that almost never happens (that’s still true). I decided to spend my last moments of freedom across the street at Cafe Divis enjoying a San Francisco classic, a Blue Bottle cappuccino. (What’s so special and “San Franciscan” about this particular drink? Besides being delicious, it’s a tiny portion with a hefty price tag, something this town loves almost as much as free parking. Almost). 

At my desk by 9:30, answering e-mails, skimming the news of the day and creating a to-do list, like everyday (still true). At 10:00 a.m. I am sitting around a conference table for a monthly staff meeting which would be boring except that since the holidays are here, we picked Secret Santas. Awesome.

The morning flew by as I rushed to finish everything I had to do before 2:00 when I headed downtown to the venue of our staff Christmas party. A word on parking in this great city, it’s nauseating, in the literal sense. Like spending 10 dollars in quarters on street parking is enough to make you sick. Also, unless you happen to have an exceptionally large coin purse with 10 dollars worth of quarters in it, you have to somehow find a merchant willingly to break your cash to feed the meter - a virtually impossible task in downtown San Francisco (definitely still true).

Once I parked (and paid), I spent four hours putting up paper snowflake cutouts, something that was surprisingly fun and very satisfying because the otherwise ugly dive bar was glowing with winter season joy by the time I finished. By 6:00 the staff started shuffling in and, thanks to an open bar, the conversations became a lot less awkward and contrived the more liquor everyone consumed. If noise is a barometer for fun, then everything really got started around 7:30. I even offered up my vocal stylings and dazzling dancing abilities for a rousing rendition of ABBA’s “Dancing Queen” (I can’t believe these people actually hired me six months later!) Although, in hindsight, the combination of a karaoke DJ and an open bar was probably not the best idea!

But the highlight of the whole party was probably the bartender (ain’t that the truth!) Actually scratch that, it was the bartender and the food! I need to track down the caterer and get his recipe for the vegan banana maple cupcakes and the organic black bean salsa. Yummy and Awesome.

The bartender was a little flirt. He played the “guess what’s in the special shot” game with me and a coworker of mine. Answer: roofies. Just kidding! Actually, he never told us but he did give me his card ;)

After a few drinks and a few laps around the room, I decided to call it a day at 9:30, exactly twelve hours after I arrived at my desk that morning. I found my car, quickly consulted my Streetwise map (give me a break, I technically lived in Marin at the time…now I consult my iPhone but am still always lost) and headed north, back across the bridge.

It was quite the day. It was not college graduation or my first day as a teacher in France. It was, more or less, another work day, another day in the life of Allison, a twenty-four hour unit of time corresponding to a rotation of the earth on its axis, a day in San Francisco. Awesome.


  1. allisondoyle posted this

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