Here’s the thing about hostels. You can skate through, head down, backpack slung over one shoulder. You avert your eyes, deny a grasp of English, and flick your fingers sideways as you click the front door closed.
Or you can share your butter, sit at the kitchen table, and introduce yourself. That’s me. Now I listen to a climate journalist and her partner who live down the street from my friend, whose house they think they might pass on dogwalks. I don’t know anything about the city and the steps that take you down its hills. But their animation intrigues me. So I pour another glass of water and keep alert.
Earlier I chatted with a man from Northern India who recently moved to San Francisco from Oregon. He admitted that he came to Pigeon Point to escape a houseful of relatives. We traded slightly witty repartee about self-help books and the relative merits of iPhones versus Androids. He favors the former and, in fact, just worked through the exhausting release of the most recent iteration. He promised to convince me before the sun set. As it happened, we stood in the doorway of the dormitory together, watching the crimson orb slide into the ocean.
Now darkness sits on the sea. The conversation continues. I’ve eaten my mushroom pasta and consumed enough cold water. Peace surrounds me in this magical place. I dread the dawn and my inevitable return to civilization. I have another night, and a morning. I intend to make the most of it. After breakfast, I plan to carefully pack the car and head south to Davenport, then east into the mountains by way of Bonny Doon Road. Another guest warned me that the redwoods sustained a lot of fire damage and I might be disappointed. But I will drive to the summit and gaze to the west, at the wide expanse of water, before turning towards home.
It’s the sixteenth day of the one-hundred and seventeenth month of My Year Without Complaining. Life continues.