Berkeley and Clare

Well, I accidentally closed Mozilla last time when I was about 90% done with a looong freakin entry, so here we go again.

This weekend past weekend was definitely one of the best I’ve had in a long while. I went and saw my brother march in a parade in the rain on his birthday (and sat through a pretty boring presentation from some veterans afterward… and me calling it boring is pretty bad, cuz I actually like that kind of stuff).

Then Friday I cruised up to Berkeley in the rental car my mom got just for the occasion (!). After fighting my way through traffic, I got there around 7ish, and promptly found myself without any place to park. So I called Clare and had her come down with me to help me find parking. We drove around for like twenty minutes and ended up parking in this crazy dark residential part of Berkeley, like 20 minutes from Dana’s dorm, which was our next destination. So we hop outta the car, and hot foot it on over to Dana’s. There, Tristan, Clare, Dana and myself all head on over another 15 minutes or so to the Naan’n’Curry. This was my first foray into Indian food. We all got the same thing… something called “Chicken gaklghela gfl;aj” where “gaklghela gfl;aj” is a pair of Indian words I couldn’t pronounce, let alone remember which apparently both mean “spicy”. It’s chicken cut up in chunks, and served in a gooey yellow sauce. Tristan also ordered us 4 Naan’s. Or maybe its just 4 Naan. Naanai. Naanuses. Who knows. Basically it looks like a big tortilla, with the consistency of thick pizza crust (think New York Giant crust, you know, kinda soft and chewey) and a breadlike flavor. The idea is you rip off chunks of Naan and dip it in the chicken stuff. It was pretty freakin good.

So after dinner we decide that we could totally go for some ice cream. So we walk another 15 minutes out of our way to the Gelateria. I’d never had gelato before then either, so that was a new experience. The place was kind of weird. There’s like 40 flavors of this gelato stuff (which is essentially ice cream… though not quite as creamy as regular ice cream) to choose from. And they all have these weird Italian names except for the ones like “cantaloupe” and “pear”. So since these things have weird names (or weird flavors like cantaloupe and pear) they encourage you to try the flavors out before you choose one or more. So there is essentially a mob in front of the counter, of people trying dozens of flavors at a time. There were like 4 guys working the counter, and they were all just handing out trial spoons of the stuff. In order to get one of them to actually help you, you pretty much had to ask for a taste of something – if I said I was ready, they asked me to wait just a moment while they handed out a few more spoons. I eventually settled on two very sweet ones to mix that had extremely funny Italian names. After tasting mine, Dana informed me that they probably were just fancy words for “Vanilla” and “Cookies and Cream” :o/ Anyway, so we walked from there back to Dana’s Dorm, which took like half an hour. We got there, grabbed “Who Framed Roger Rabbit”, and headed to the Lounge for the community DVD player and TV. At one point during the movie, Clare totally jumped – I was amused.

By this point, it was somewhere between midnight and 1AM. And for those of you wondering, the plan was that I was going to stay at Clare’s for the night. The very sharp among you might have noticed I never said I brought my luggage out of my car. That’s because I didn’t. Clare and I also neglected to put to memory the name of the street my car was parked on. In fact, the one thing we remembered about its location was “dark creepy part of Berkeley way far away from campus”. And we couldn’t wait til morning, because it was parked in front of a sign that said “No Parking after 8 AM”, or something equally way-to-early-sounding at 1 in the morning. So we set off, in search of a car that wasn’t mine, armed with only a set of keys containing a remote capable of making the headlights blink from a short distance (these come back to haunt me later). It was a pretty fun treasure hunt, even when you factor in the random drunken homeless people that Berk seems to have in spades. We finally found my Jeep Liberty a little after 1, I’d say.

Then we decided we most definitely needed to drive around Berkeley randomly, in the name of exploration. In an effort to further the causes of humanity, threw caution to the wind and put our very lives on the line. We drove up behind campus into the big hills and national parks. It’s pretty high up… at one point we were driving through a cloud. We counted 3 deer and 2 skunks, too. And some really really bitchin views of Oakland and northern SF. It was pretty amazing up there. And I totally didn’t get lost. I made it back from crazy BFE land to Berkeley without a hitch. After about an hour of that, we headed back to campus, so we could get some sleep. We parked in some parking garage that took my $7 for unlimited parking, then told me I needed to move it by 5:30 AM. ha. We went home and she set me up on her bed and took her roomies.

Saturday was another awesome day. We woke up real early at around noon to get ready to go have “breakfast” with Dana and Tristan. Breakfast at a campus dining hall done, we did some other stuff, I grabbed a 12 pack of Smirnoff Twisted, then the four of us and Clare’s roommate Diana gathered to head up to UC Davis to visit Hanni and her twin brother Harry. We played the alphabet game on the way to keep us entertained, and rocked out to the Beatles. We eventually made it to Davis, and after driving around (through big piles of leaves on the ground) for a while, found Hanni’s dorm. I parked my car and, without looking, hit what I thought was the “lock” button on the remote. It was most certainly not the lock button. It was, of course, the PANIC button. Now this isn’t my car. It’s a rental. And I’ve only ever had one other car with an alarm, and you pushed the button to make it go off, you push it again to stop it. So this thing starts goin nuts, right. And I’m like pushing all the buttons on the remote, trying to get it to shut up. None of it works. So then I try to open the door. No dice. Keys in the ignition. Nope. Turn car on. Uh uh. Put car in drive. No. Drive around the parking lot. Not happening. After a few minutes of annoying honking and alarming from the car, I finally try holding the panic button down. Silence.

We got into Hanni’s dorm, and settled in for a few games of cards and then a fiercely competetive game of Taboo, Guys vs Girls, 3 vs 4. It was pretty close right up until the end, when the girls came out a point ahead. Of course, we later found out that our scorekeeper wasn’t keeping score properly, and the guys were actually 5 points up, but nevermind that. Then we ran out for some food and this place called Pluto’s. It’s a fast food restraunt? I dunno. They serve salads and sandwiches there. And beer on tap… *shrug* Anyway, we ate up, then headed back to Hanni’s because Clare’s roommate wasn’t feeling good. So we dropped her off there with some drugs, and headed back to go see The Incredibles (for my second time). It’s a pretty good flick. Pixar does it again. I feel like ranting, but I’ll save that rant about Pixar vs Disney for later.

Davis by the way, is bicycle crazy. At the dorms there’s a bike rack with no less than 100 bikes locked up in it, at least. Possibly closer to 200. Bike lanes in Davis are about twice as large as I’ve seen them in any other city, and they actually – get this – have lights, just for the bikes. Yeah, I was getting ready to get my left turn on, and the green light comes on. It’s not circular so I start going. Then I realize its not an arrow either… it was a green bicycle light, meaning its the bike’s turn to go. Insanity.

After the movie we cruised back to find Diana up and about, and feeling slightly better. We hung out for another hour or two, and left Davis at like 1,
with everyone in hopes of finding an INO before they close (we’d spotted two on the way up). Now, on the way in, we had Hanni directing us via phone, on the way back, we didn’t. So I managed to get us back to the freeway without getting lost (with two not-getting-lost adventures in 24 hours, you can tell Tres was on the other side of the state). Well, a few tracks into Flogging Molly and by the time I’d found that first INO, I looked around and noticed that everyone was asleep to varying degrees, with the possible exception of Clare. She was obviously tired, but I think she was trying to help me stay awake (which was appreciated, but unneeded, as I was quite wired). So I kept up the drive and had another nice conversation with Clare, about music and such. We made it back to Berkeley right around when the CD ended, dropped Dana and Tristan off at her Dorm, then headed on over to that same parking garage. We were about to pay when Diana said that the parking meters are turned off on weekends anyway. So we drove around for a bit, looking for a space and found one on the same block as Clare’s dorm, no less. I didn’t notice the street signs at the time.

We head on up to the room, and Diana gets ready to hit the sack, but by now my giddyness had spread to Clare, and neither of us were quite ready to sleep. So we sat around and talked, and played cool music from each other’s laptops. It must have been somewhere between 2 and 3 AM where I decided that it was totally time that Clare saw Fight Club. So she hopped on DC++, and proceded to download it in 6 minutes. ( #@%!ing #@^%@#! Internet2! Fight Club in 6 minutes! It’s just not fair. ) At anyrate, we grabbed a blanket and a couple smirnoff’s and headed toward the lounge in her hall. We plopped the laptop on the table and got comfy on the couch. Now the “problem” with LCD’s is that there’s a certain angle you have to view them at, otherwise you don’t see whats on the screen properly. I put the word “problem” in quotes mainly because in this case, I certainly didn’t mind having to scrunch up with someone to get a good look (at a movie I know verbatim). So we made the best of it, and scrunched up together under the blanket. About an hour into the movie, the laptop’s battery dies. We briefly talk about going to bed, but that would entail getting up, carrying stuff back to her room, and we were already comfy. So we stayed. And we talked. We talked for a few hours. Just laying there, on this small couch, with this small blanket, talking the small hours away. There’s not many ways to share a couch with someone, and few places to put things such as hands and feet, but we compromised without words. And so it was that we were simply talking, my hands lying idly around her, her body against mine, that we saw the light from the sun beginning to rise. It was totally seven in the morning. We laughed and hugged, and laid some more. Then I asked her, “What are you thinking?” Which quickly turned into the kind of conversation two people have when they have feelings for each other, but are both too shy to do more than hint at them. I’m sure you know the kind. It eventually came out in the open, on both sides. She wasn’t without her concerns, though. The distance, of course. And she’s still dealing with the hurt of older relationships. But she didn’t shy away, she didn’t back off. She held my hand, and we talked about dreams and goals and fears and watched out the lounge window some more.

At around 8 in the morning, we crawled into her bed and grabbed three hours of sleep. So around noon, we did lunch with Dana and Tristan, then came back and did laundry. We both took a 20 minute nap, and waited for Dana and Tristan to come over, so we could all watch Fight Club and have dinner. After an hour or two of guitar and mandolin playing, we ordered some delicious pizza from West Coast Pizza, and settled in for the movie. Clare and I cuddling up once more (*sigh* those damn LCD screens). Dana and Tris left, and it wasn’t long before we ended up in bed again arms alternating around one another. Sunday definitely felt like a blur, partly due to a lack of sleep, and partly because Monday morning was when I had to leave.

Monday morning came, and I reluctantly got ready to leave, only a couple hours after I meant to. Clare and I hugged our goodbyes and I hopped in the car and left (though it wasn’t as easy as that… that sign I didn’t see earlier apparently said they were doing some form of construction on the street I parked on, both ends were blocked off, so I had to wait for someone to move a semi so I could leave)

And so that was my weekend. Clare doesn’t want a relationship right now, but at least it was good at the time, and at least I know that for a brief time, someone felt the same. I’ll see her on Thanksgiving, and it’ll be funny because she’s trying like hell to give me $5, but it just isn’t going to happen.

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