Why I Love The Bay: A Day in a Life
Saturday, June 16
Morning – My friend had called me up earlier in the week, mentioned he’d be in town, and asked if I wanted to be his personal photographer at a private event where he’d be DJing. I said yes; unemployment makes even cleaning exciting, and this sounded like a fun way to get out of the house. He reminded me to get there at 9:30 AM, then texted me the address.
“AT&T Park?” I wondered. “Home of the recent perfect game?”
I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect, but he mentioned that there’d be free food, so my rumbling stomach told me to shut up and let things happen as they may.
And as it turned out, that was good advice! The event ended up being Genentech’s employee appreciation concert, and the organizers surprised the audience with Lifehouse, Jennifer Hudson, and Bruno Mars. It was an incredible opportunity to start shooting again, as well as to gain a coveted backstage pass that led me to befriend the guys from Lifehouse and meet the amazingly down-to-Earth Jennifer Hudson. Seriously though – she came off stage during a Whitney Houston medley to dance with audience members, and she modestly answered questions and talked with everyone backstage. Another good sign: her back-up singers and band seemed to genuinely care about one another, particularly as I hung out with what looked like their entire families and watched the show together. My roommate teases me about my starstruck account of the afternoon, and though I insist that I rarely care about celebrities or the arbitrary prestige of fame, I have to admit that I was quite impressed by her. Watching Bruno Mars and his band of attractive hipster musicians perform adorable choreographed dances was similarly awesome – awesome enough to shift my opinion of Bruno Mars from ambivalent to pleasantly positive.
In retrospect, I should have eaten more of the delicious food, or drank more of the free wine, or at the very least gotten an ice cream sandwich to ward off the unwavering heat. But between laying in the crisp, fresh grass (baseball diamonds really do have beautiful grass) and enjoying the fun summertime sounds and feel, it was a pretty perfect way to start the day.
Evening – But the day was not over! Immediately after Bruno Mars finished his set, I scampered off to meet my friend for a sail around the Bay. Apparently I didn’t at all anticipate what I was getting into, though predictability of unpredictability is a characteristic trait of Burners. He greeted me excitably: “So here’s the plan. You know the plan, right? (No.) We’re going to drive over to Emeryville, sail to Richmond for roller derby, then sneak into an Opulent Temple party on Treasure Island.”
I had made plans earlier, but the alternatives sounded a lot more appealing. I jokingly informed my roommates that I’d been kidnapped by pirates and that I’d likely be home late (Opulent Temple ran ’til 4 AM). We made a quick pitstop at a grocery story, stocked up on food and liquor, then set off to the Marina. It was then that I realized I actually know absolutely nothing about sailboats; I watched Jason and his crew of wacky sailors ready the ship and anticipated munching on a delicious sandwich while enjoying a smooth ride on placid waters.
As it turns out, none of that was true. The waters were rough, and because Jason was angling to make it to Richmond by 8 for the second heat of the roller derby, he took the waves head-on. Being a novice sea-woman, I was terrified that we were going to capsize – and that all of my 1200 photos of the day would be lost. Jason and Cassie assured me that this was an impossibility; the weighted keel ensured that despite the nearly perpendicular tilt of the boat to the water, we could not fall in. Regardless, my sea legs were far from developed, so I found a happy medium by standing on the steps of the cabin, poking my head out and rotating my body such that I stayed vertical at all times. This amused all of the experienced sailors on board, but you gotta do what you do… (Also, motion sickness is something I’m going to have to anticipate in a year of travels. Damn.)
Night – As it turned out, we decided to skip roller derby, take in the stunning sunset, and head to Treasure Island a bit early. We narrowly avoided death by sailing just around unlit pylons and submerged border fences, but no one but me seemed particularly concerned. We approached the warehouse where the show was being held, then pulled into a semi-sketchy guest dock, where Mark tripped and fell onto the wood, stumbled and nearly walked into the water, and then almost fell through a hole all the way through to the icy waters below. Yes. These things happened.
And despite all this, we split into three different groups (Jason taking the novice trespassers Cassie and me), hopped the fence dividing the dock from the back of the warehouse, waited until there was only one guard at the door, then casually walked in. We originally had tried another door, pretending we were just out for a smoke break, but the second time we cleverly slid into a side alleyway and happened to stroll out when the guard wasn’t looking. (Amusingly, a chorus of “we’re in!” texts rang out around the same time.) For all that, however, Cassie and I were quite tired, and being exhausted and sober definitely altered the experience of a Burning Man party. We hung out for a little while, watching giant illuminated jellyfish dance through the crowd and keeping our bracelet-less wrists covered, but ultimately ended up laying around in an art bus, talking to random strangers as they came in and waiting for the rest of the group to meet up. Apparently Mark and Angeline (the wackiest loon I’ve ever met – but seriously one of the funniest as well) had decided to catch a cab just as we decided to sail home, so the synchronicity worked out perfectly, and we jumped back over the fence for a perfect ride home.
Floating under the Bay Bridge and the real stars of the night, my anxieties were finally completely assuaged (might have been the Pretty Lights too). We enjoyed a relaxing (and placid) sail back to Emeryville, wrapped up in blankets and narrowly avoiding decapitation by wayward sails. For never having sailed a boat before, I did a damn good job of steering us into dock both at Treasure Island and back in Emeryville! I then thankfully disembarked the boat, helped pack up, and drove us safely back home, where I slept like a log until the following day’s adventures, which included a cumulative ten-mile bike ride to REI, Trader Joe’s, and Church, a Sunday-night live jam session with some of the most talented and passionate musicians I’ve ever met.
… My life isn’t typical, but it’s pretty damn good. Many people travel because they’re bored of where they came from, but I’m traveling because I was brought up on a life of adventures, and can’t wait to have more! Needless to say, I’m pretty lucky to be from the Bay. 🙂