I’ve regretted many things in 2014. I’ve been rash and careless with my own heart, distracted and jumbled in my thinking and expression. I was a “first time toll violator” on the Golden Gate Bridge, and, on two separate occasions, ran red lights in empty neighborhoods, all by mistake. I was evading justice so much so that I’ve felt the cool breath of guilt wrap itself around me. During the stark nights in the Outer Sunset, the baboons at the Zoo howled and I considered turning myself in. And yet, I didn’t because of my ignorance and thinking I was exceptional.
It was a year where I learned consequences come in different forms. And reconciliations of the past are things to be proud of.
I recently regret falling-in-like with a thirty-two-year-old-man who unknowingly wooed me because he was once an intern at my favorite magazine (and quite honestly not because he just sold a company). I learned this on a 50-minute coffee date, which he ended abruptly in order to take the bus back downtown. This was a ride I paid for.
I’m still convinced it’s because investor types “will always take a first meeting.” I was a quiet mouse the entire time, completely foreign from my gregarious self, unable to answer his questions or wake my personality up in front of someone who was worth-a-while.
For any personal appointment this year I was either incredibly late or inappropriately early because I never managed to change my clock after Day Light Savings. I still feel horrible about the boy I completely stood up because I didn’t realize that by “Monday” he meant Monday and not the Tuesday after Labor Day. He didn’t find that to be a compelling apology.
When a hot guy flirted with me, I wish I was braver to not question it, but flirt right back, instead of talking snobbishly about art, remaining unchanged in my countenance until they assumed I was bored and moved on.
In August, The County Fair, I hear, was amazing, but I lived in a different city, so my family saw all the baby animals without me.
The corner of my brain is where I store the memory of my beautiful housewarming party for my new apartment in the Inner Richmond. It was an Indian summer when I concocted mint juleps in white-and-blue teacups for my guests. My roommate screamed from the taste. “Well, I guess you have to like bourbon,” I said.
I’ve been meaning to cut down on my use of the phrase, “well, well, well” to fill idle moments. I watch what I say because no one likes someone who finds herself cleverer than the person she’s with. And while “Call me Ish-mail” is a fantastic network name, it’s not worth your reputation of humility to blast literary allusions on Instagram, but it’s a moment to savor when someone asks to use your WiFi.
I wish I wrote with fierce discipline, adopting exercises like Didion’s. She’d write for hours in the morning and then write about what she wrote about in the evening, after pouring herself a measured amount of alcohol. Instead, I spent not-so-novel hours burning through Netflix, claiming that when you know the genre of ‘90s Teen Drama you’re well equipped for the intricate crucibles in our lives.
There is nothing I regret from the weekend where I had no water in my apartment where the weekend really began with me crying at Ocean Beach after an idiot ended something that hadn’t even begun, and I called Karina, my best friend, and asked, “If I picked you up in 20 minutes, would you want to go to Big Sur?”
We mostly drove that weekend along California 1, crossed The Bixby Bridge, a bridge I’ve had dreams about even when I had never even seen it. We drank cheap wine in a hotel with an ocean view, and ate Chex Mix and danced on a bed to Beyonce after climbing this creepy hill at night where we thought we’d probably get murdered, so we descended. The next morning, she was the only person I would have wanted to see – dependable, replaying our night, desperately thirsty, resolving small problems, though we felt like we were hit by trucks. We found an impressive bakery that served us bread, butter and salt and good coffee. There is also nothing I regret from my quarter-quell birthday, enjoyed on a boat, on the warmest October day with cold tomato juice, sailing underneath my big, old, red bridge. The day was perfect. It felt licentious.
I wish I could delete the moments where I ever felt “old” because to think that now is just stupid. I saw the number 24 written on the cover of a book while on the train, and clearly thought these three things – I am older than that number. I have not read that book. There is so much I have yet to do.
Last night I assembled my own chaise lounge by hand. It was a belated birthday gift, due in October, but delinquent and arrived closer to Christmas. I spent the time tinkering and daydreaming and could hear the rain outside. I thought about how I had run under Brooklyn overpasses to escape the weather one weekend back East and how I swam in Lake Washington up north where I felt like it was summer camp again.
It was here where I held my biggest regret in 2014: that I still felt self-important. I bragged to my father about my armchair accomplishment and I referred to an Allen Wrench as “a twirly thing,” much to my father’s dismay. His response was: “For Christmas I’m buying you bibb overalls and you’re going to spend your entire vacation with me in the garage where I’ll make you memorize every tool there ever was.”