bay views, wedding bells, and fat dogs

I’m back.

So I just spent two weeks up in Berkeley. This I found out: I have no idea how to relax.

But I had a good time. I did. It was great to see my mom, and then great to have the house to myself when she left for vacation. However, that thrill that comes from having your parents away when you’re in high school, kind of tends to disappear when you’ve been living on your own for 5 years anyway and are free to drink beer or smoke or walk around in your underwear anytime you want. Having rules can be fun – because then you get to break them!

But it wasn’t as if I were as free as I would have liked to be. I had to take care of two cats and a dog. Little fat smelly Tanner. What I really needed was to be able to sleep all day, but I, yes, had to get up to feed him. And then I could never get back to sleep. Woe is my ass.

If you’ve never been – Berkeley rocks. The Bay Area in general: also rocks. No question. Sure it may have an elitist feel, but if a city with clean air, culture, beauty, and nice-ish people tends to be a bit elitist, so be it. No doubt about it though, Berkeley is a weird place. Growing up there gave me an incredibly warped sense of the world. I thought everyone in America was liberal, fun-loving, and racially tolerant. I thought everyone smoked weed when they were 12, went to foreign films when they were 11, and was arrested for protesting nuclear arms when they were 10. I soon learned how wrong I was. Incidentally, living then in New York and Los Angeles only warped my world view even more, albeit in different ways. (I walk into 7-11’s outside of LA and am shocked not to be able to find a copy of Variety.)

And just when I’m craving a good ol’ dose of Berkeley counter-culture, I find out that 2 of my oldest friends are getting married. Derek, the kid who grew up around the corner from me got his girlfriend pregnant and they’re having a shotgun wedding, and Jeff is marrying his high school girlfriend (she not in high school now, they went to high school together). So instead of talking about sex and old beer-drinking days and why Too Short’s sound never evolves and should we go to Tahoe right now and the 49ers off-season pick-ups and our pedophilic 5th grade English teacher and losing our virginity and how fat X female has gotten since graduation and how good it is to all be together for a bit, we talked about babies and caterers and photographers and how to pare down a guest list and honeymoons and "getting a real job" and how indeed the sex gets less frequent and tuxes and best men and strippers and writing vows and how much to tip the priest. Really, they talked about it. I just shot pool, badly this time.

And this happens to every young man. It does. I’ve seen it in a thousand cute but not very exciting Indie films, except in those the guy (me, in this case – Eric Stoltz in the movies) ends up falling in love and to his surprise – getting married himself!!! Well, the fact that I should have known this was coming, despite my having thought that we in Berkeley were somehow "above it all", doesn’t making it any less jarring. And it has little to do with my resenting their getting married for fear it will take them away from me, since we rarely see each other anyway, and not approving of their choices in women or timing (both of which I have opinions on, but will not express here). And while it certainly makes me panic a bit about my own future and makes me wonder about the future of my relationship with M., I think what is bothering me is that it is just one more indication that my childhood is really indeed over. At 27 that probably sounds silly, but as I infused my nature with a good deal of personal responsibility at a fairly early age (I was 18 going on 35), I always clung to the fact that my youth was what informed me and has always sat very close to the surface. I suppose it can continue to be that way, and though I feel quite old and capable and mature, I can still get in touch with that inner juvenile delinquent, and have fun with my old friends. I guess now I’ll just have to do it with their wives and babies in tow.

I did a lot in these last two weeks. But as I hinted before, it was a constant battle to just force myself to chill. And then, even while just sitting around reading or watching movies, I almost always felt like I had to go do something. The one constant I did was write. I wrote a long outline for a screenplay. I wrote every morning after drinking coffee and reading the paper. In my dad’s old office. With the dog sleeping off the kibbles underneath my chair.

Now the dog is up there, along with my soon-to-be married friends, my mom, that desk with its view of the bay…

…and my childhood.

This is where I let Larry King take over my body for a few minutes.

I'm very excited that Arlington Road got such good reviews. I just hope it can draw an audience. Jeff Bridges in the best actor in film...if you're ever in Berkeley, get Zachary's pizza, Gordo's burritos, and Kensington Pub fish and chips...while I was in the Bay Area, San Francisco was overrun by a very telling trio of events: The Gay Pride March, a Dodgers/Giants series, and the X-Games...