Sunday, 6 April 2014

So have a nice day



San Francisco bay, past pier 39,
Early p.m. can't remember what time,
Got the waiting cab, stopped at the red light,
Address unsure of, but it turned out just right,


Got out from Linate airport a little bit after 4 p.m. yesterday afternoon.
The first 3 cab drivers at the queue were way too busy checking their smartphones and smoking to care about people waiting to get on board. The 4th one in line wished he could be with them, I bet.
Alas, he got to take me back home.
He got really pissed at me when I asked him if he could helped me putting the suitcase in the trunk (customer service, people?), was absolutely furious when I  told him to stop texting while driving.

It felt good to be back home: as usual I left the house quite a mess and unpacking made the living room look even worse.
As usual, it felt as if 2 massive air balloon got stuck into my ears. They still are: the noises from the street arrives as if they were 2 km away and not just 2 floors below.
As usual, the lingering feelings and memories of the trip coated me against the present.
This time around I chose to stay in San Francisco rather than spending 2 weeks in the South Bay area.
It meant commuting everyday, but it wasn't such a bad thing: altogether it's the same time I spend commuting to my office and it was more or less the only time I had only for myself during the day: the rest flew away in a blur of work, meetings, coffee and wandering around.

Yesterday evening I was supposed to try to clear some of the above mentioned mess.
Instead I went on a scavenger hunt. I was looking for a CD. "Just Enough Education to Perform" is an album that comes back over and over in my life.

When I first heard it, I thought "Have a nice day" started from a real life episode to talk more generally about life around the world, how we're all becoming the same.
That "have a nice day" I came to listen way too many times, alongside the "Sorry", is just an expression of how fake and hypocrite society can get.
I liked the song because of the contrast between what sounded to me as a very depressed and pessimistic lyrics to the uptempo beat of the tune.

It started straight off, "coming here is hell"
That's his first words, we asked what he meant,
He said "where ya' from?" we told him our lot,
"When ya' take a holiday, is this what you want?"

I found myself singing this song quite often in San Francisco for the past 2 weeks. Especially when sitting in the back of a cab.
Until the last evening it looked as if I was getting a special replay of the driver Kelly Jones: each one of them was, in a way or another, completely bonkers.
The Mexican guy shouting at every person on the street, the one complaining about Uber and the pink mustaches, the Russian who asked me whether I minded if he had a joint while driving (yes, I did mind but no, he didn't care about it and lit it anyway), the one that insisted I should drive to Oakland to have the best pizza ever, the guy that wished all this silicon valley people disappeared from the face of earth ("And why are you here, miss?", "better if I don't tell you"), the woman telling me how better she got since she switched prescription ("I'm not even that sleepy any longer!"). 
Either I share with Kelly Jones the ability of picking them, or San Francisco cab drivers are one of a kind. Not that I mind, really.

Everybody was nice and life looked so easy: as usual I had that brief moment when I thought that yes, I could live there and be well. 
After few days, however, that over-kindness customer-service attitude everybody seemed eager to mirror to the outside world was really starting to get me. 
In the past few months I've grown less and less able to lie when people ask me how I feel. But this has become a big problem once in California: try and reply that you feel like shit and the look on people's face will freeze. You can't feel bad or upset, because this unbalances the apparently perfect, all-round-connected life they connected.
You can't say you're feeling lonely, because it's like pointing at the naked king.

And so I was left with little to shield myself with: sometimes I smiled for real, most of the times I faked, both the smile and happiness. All along I hung to the madness I could find in the taxi that carried me around.
I already miss you, crazy people. See you in a year.

So have a nice day...

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