The first night, I remember, it was kinda dark. It was one of those San Francisco chilly nights with the wind everywhere. And I remember moving all my stuff out from my apartment and going to the Greyhound station. My friend, except he was more of a guy that I met online through programming chat groups, who was five years older than me was getting married in San Diego.
The timing of the wedding was perfect. My lease in the city was over, and I officially had nowhere to sleep for the next three weeks of my internship. Luckily, this wedding happened right after I was kicked out, so I could take a Greyhound bus down to San Diego and sleep at a family friend's for the night before the wedding.
The wedding happened, it was pretty fun, and I get a ride to LA. I thought, I have a bunch of friends in LA, this'll be great. I get to LA, and nobody is there. Everybody is off, on a trip, or busy or whatever. I can't come across anyone on Facebook. It ends up being 2 a.m. and I realize I have no place to sleep. I could've gotten a hostel or hotel, I suppose, but I have this thing about me where if I can mess up in a bad situation, I'm not allowed to take the easy way out. So I find a Denny's instead.
I order coffee every two or three hours, so they know I'm still a legitimate customer and not a seventeen-year-old buying time in a diner. Waitresses give me funny looks. I ask for some cream, as well. The place smells like ketchup and corned beef. I'm think the smell gets into my hair.
Finally, in the morning, I get back on the bus and go back to San Francisco. I have no idea where I'm sleeping that night. It's probably 11 a.m. when I get on the bus.
So I sleep on the bus and spend the rest of the time cell phone jockeying -- posting on Facebook groups, messaging everyone and their mother, asking do you know anybody, who knows anybody, who's got a spare couch.
I find a floor in the Financial District to sleep on. It's the floor of this guy who, previously in the summer, had crashed on my and my roommate's couch. He's a few years older. Always in suits. Chain-smokes cigarettes. He once told me, "I'm gonna show you, I'm gonna show you the lifestyle."
I mostly just see his floor that night, and am grateful for it.
This started a few weird couple of weeks of not knowing where I was going to sleep at any given 6 p.m. Sometimes I didn't find out where I was gonna sleep until, like, 8.
So I stayed somewhere and anywhere in the Castro for a couple weeks. I slept in the basement of the Dogpatch for two nights.
This whole time, I was going to work. No one at work knew my secret, unstable life once I left. I kept my bags and work and showered and work, and I only traveled with a backpack containing a shirt and underwear.
Work was two blocks away from this dispensary, and I'd pick up maybe ten dollars worth of edibles or drugs or whatever, so I'd have a gift for my unknown host that night. Like -- here's a little chocolate square for your trouble.
I also stayed over at a co-worker's place for five nights while she was traveling. This was a wonderful house, except I notice that on the first night, my pillow felt, a little bit lumpy. I pull back the pillow to find nothing other than a huge vibrator underneath. I'd been flirting with this co-worker too, which is kinda weird, and I questioned whether this was intentional. It's sort of a sexy thing, but it's not the best come on. I didn't know, what's the protocol? Do I put this back where I found it? Do I leave it out? What do you do with your female co-worker's vibrator?
And I ended up leaving it under another pillow, so... she'd know.
And it was around this time that I met another girl -- at a hackathon. We started hanging out. We cuddled, nothing too serious. But we decided, warm-blooded and young teenagers that we were, to have a night out on the town. We made a plan to sleep together.
I realized though, I can't take this girl back to my co-worker's place, where there were other people around too.
So we ended using this app called Hotel Tonight -- the entire purpose of the app is to get a hotel tonight. This was a lot of firsts for this girl. She was a virgin, had never tried weed before, so of course we'd decided to take some edibles and go to... it both kicked in for us on the ride back. We go to the hotel, and I wake up with a view of San Francisco's skyline. (She ends up being my girlfriend for a year... kinda cute, we ended up together.)
Looking back on it, it's hard to convey the, just the feeling, of all of it. Maybe I'm not conveying how weird it felt -- to not have a home, to be having my first real job, to be deflowering girls I'd met two weeks ago in luxury hotel rooms. It was a trip for somebody who, three months earlier, had never ventured out. I felt like I was going wild in a way that I had never before.
I think sometimes we change gradually. Maybe even imperceptively, like when you just get a trim at the hair parlor. And only your best friend from home, or mom, notices.
But that wasn't the case at all. Before this summer, I'd never smoked weed. I'd never gotten drunk. I was rooted, deeply, in the comfortable.
It was the summer of going to the opposite polarity of my life. And it ended in three weeks of complete and utter uprootedness.