Paula and I left the bar a little after nine. For the past few hours, I had been drinking with some of my old dot-com buddies. Paula arrived later and didn’t drink much, which was good because she was the one driving.
It’s an odd reunion hanging out with those who shared a broken dream. A lot of people became millionaires back in those heady times. We didn’t. It was a disappointment but not a fatal blow. We’ve all moved on but still meet up from time to time because there was more than just greed we shared. We actually liked each other.
All in all, it was a pleasant evening and I managed to show some moderation in my drinking, which was good. I’m crazier than my old colleagues and although they’re admirably tolerant of my conversation topics, it’s good to keep some inhibitions intact so I can rein myself in. There was also the matter of some work that needed doing when I got home, so I had to have my wits about me.
I used to work late in the hope that it would one day make me rich. Now I just do it to pay the rent.
We walked to Paula’s car and took Mission Street all the way back to my neighborhood. Towers of glass and steel gave way to smaller brick buildings containing residential hotels, pawn shops, and people sleeping in doorways. When we stopped at the light at 6th and Mission, I heard the click of Paula locking all the doors.
We passed under 101 and into the Mission district. Along both sides of the street were taquerias, bars, discount retail outlets. Hipsters and gang bangers were everywhere. I was home.
I once thought I would be living somewhere else by now. At one point, Amsterdam was the most likely place. After the divorce, that wasn’t going to happen but I thought there would be some change of scenery. At least I got my passport renewed recently. That has to count for something.
I did my work, ate some Chinese food with Paula, and watched some South Park before turning in. That night, I dreamed I was in some hotel in Bulgaria. I’ve never actually been to that country but the place just kind of felt like it. I looked out the window and saw a plaza where there was an old building, a clock tower, and a parked car.
“Is this Sofia?” I asked. That’s the only Bulgarian city I know of so it seemed like a fair question.
“Why yes, it is. You should check it out,” came an answer from no one in particular.
I went outside to take a few pictures with my iPhone. Statuary came to life all around me and started killing everything in their path. I was pursued by an animated stone sea lion. I took refuge in a bed on stilts, to high for it to reach.
Then I woke up. It was about 3 am and Paula was fast asleep. I went into another room and made sure I didn’t screw up any of the work I did earlier. I was relieved to see that everything was running fine. There would be no complaints about me tomorrow morning, at least none about this.