Bondi Beach, Sydney, NSW c. 2002

Wed, 10 Aug 2005 7:15 AM (GMT+0000)

Neela recently announced her blog, coincidentally as I've just rekindled my love affair with San Francisco. Oh, she's a fickle mistress. I only half-heartedly believe that because I've only ever been her houseguest that I don't get to see her when she's not on her best behavior. New York City - the other great love of my life - I get to see her at her best, but sadly I also get the full picture. I get to see her at her sickening worst.

I've never lived on the West Side of the San Francisco Bay. I've been there plenty of times, both as a wide-eyed child and many more times now that I'm somewhat narrower-eyed. I've even spent a few relatively solid months out in the hills of the East Bay in casual flirtation. As much of this world as I've seen, only New York can even compete with her so far. Sydney's still in the running, but at this point I think it's pretty obvious how I feel about long-distance relationships.

It's easy to be a cheater when you travel for business. There's something even more sordid about conducting an affair on someone else's dime. The other easy part about mistresses is that, like other people's children, you can give them back when they act up and spoil them rotten until you do. So I wonder if I left my current wife and life, how would our relationship change?

It was a particularly nasty homecoming this last time. SF spoiled me with full-moon tours of the deserted Pacific coastline. She gave me subtle chills with her Arctic trade wind kisses then burned me lightly on the beaches around Marin. I finally managed to get a sailboat out into her bay. She gave me farewell fog in my last bittersweet hours and let me watch it roll in from a perch high on one of her many luscious hills in Dolores Park.

I still reeked of her perfume when I stumbled in the door, passed out for a few hours, put in a dazed day at work, and headed back to my old lady the next night. It's always nice when you first come home - that little welcoming peck seems just a little more passionate, even if it is just your imagination still lingering.

It never takes long to be reminded of what you're stuck with at home, though. Sure, nobody's perfect, but I have a hard time imagining that SF could ever contract the hot sweet garbage halitosis that always flares up during New York's sweltering summers. The Bowery has a frightening morning face. There are very few places where she's even bothered to get even a waxing, let alone a full electrolysis, so unless you focus your attentions on only very special parts of her body, NYC is going to scratch the hell out of you with her stubble. I don't think she even knows how to make a slow seduction; if she's into you at all, she can only fuck you hard and put you away wet. Otherwise, you just get the brush-off. If she doesn't sweat you to death during the summer (even though she gives you plenty to distract you while she does it), the hypothermia will finish you off by February. It's impossible to wear enough layers to keep her from freezing your soul the way she whips her winter winds crosstown in indifference.

There's a lot to love about her. There's nothing like the park in autumn, the majesty of her architecture, her raw vitality, or her true worldliness in any other city around the globe. It's even still possible to have a little bit of extra space to call your own if you're willing to commute a few miles when you want to see her. Hell, I can even keep an eye on her from here. The pessimist in me calls it stadium seating for the apocalypse.

I'm not so blind not to see SF's little flaws. There isn't much to like about her pestering winter pissing rain, even if it is still well above freezing. I could pretty much forget about elbow room (not that I would terribly miss the maintenance on a third of an acre). And she doesn't even have a Dairy Queen! I suppose there is also that other minor impediment. I did make a commitment. I bought the mortgage ring, gathered up my friends, and had a barbeque. Why are divorces so expensive? Because they're worth it.

How often do guys leave their wives for their mistresses? What happens when your mistress starts acting like a wife? Is there such thing as a city soulmate? I guess this new indecision is just another symptom of the perpetual attachment disorder, the commitment phobia, and my chronic attraction to unavailable women. Maybe it's time to have that examined. Good thing I've had no shortage of insomnia lately...


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