Saturday, March 08, 2008

San Francisco is windy

I hate wind. This place is weird.

It feels strangely like Austin, only transplanted from some kind of alternate gay universe. I feel this way sometimes when I'm in New York too: like, I'm not in a real city, I'm in a movie about a city called San Francisco. It's a weird, somewhat disorienting feeling. It's almost like an awareness that people have that they live here, but that it's not real. I know that makes no sense, really, but that's the best I can describe it.

I met up with my friend David yesterday afternoon for coffee. He graduated from St. Edwards last year, and we had a few classes together, but were never really friends. It's a shame, because he's pretty cool, and really sweet, and even older than me (by 3 years)! It would have been nice to have some older-undergrad-commiseration. Anyway, he goes to school out here now, and really likes it, so it was nice to bend his ear a bit about his schooling, the culture shock, how he likes it all. One thing that keeps coming up again and again, and Clay and I talked about this as well, is how much of an identity shift it can sometimes be. Like, David was saying how in Texas, he was considered a total raving, left-wing lunatic, and out here, he feels moderate to slightly conservative, and how much that's affected him. Both Clay and David said that, if anything, it's only strengthened their more moderate convictions, almost as a reactionary measure. Which makes sense. That's why I stopped reading The Nation: because I felt like I was being lectured and talked down to. Thoughtless, knee-jerk liberalism is just as dangerous and stupid as thoughtless, fundamentalist conservatism. In my opinion. Anyway, various interesting conversations have been had about this particular subject since I got here.

So after David and I had coffee, I went with him to Badlands, this bar in the Castro that was having $2 well drink specials (and is decidedly unlike the Dakotas), and met up with some of his school colleagues, which was fun. The bar was noisy and crowded and I was drunk before 7pm, but I had a good time. After he got off work, Clay met us up there as well. By the time we got home, we were both hoarse from shouting. Which I was really afraid would carry over to today, but didn't. Although my throat has been a bit scratchy and sore all day.

As for today, the interview went incredibly well. I won't go into a lot of detail, except to say that my interviewer, apparently, picked my application to come be interviewed largely based on my research interests and papers I'd written. (All of my research papers are listed on my curriculum vitae.)

Particularly my paper about Brenda, from Six Feet Under. My interviewer is a big SFU fan. Big. We spent about the first 5 or 6 minutes talking about that paper and the show itself. Which felt weird, but hey, whatever it takes. She enjoyed my take on it and seemed to genuinely appreciate what it meant to me. But the interview was an hour, and we talked about a lot of stuff, and I feel like I represented myself really well. We had a natural flow to our conversation and fed off of each other pretty well too. It was a conversation more than an interview, really. I liked her a lot. She's a Russian immigrant who works in her practice primarily with other Russian immigrant families, and a lot of kids. She told some interesting stories. The children she works with have seen a lot of violence and internalize it intensely.

The rest of the day was great too. I'm not smitten, but I was very happy to be there. I met several current students, who were all incredibly nice and helpful and talkative, and I enjoyed the panels.

Afterwards I just went and wandered around Berkeley for a bit to see what the place feels like. I really liked it a lot. More than I like San Francisco. I could see myself there pretty easily I think.

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