Thursday, April 30, 2009

The San Francisco Chronicles: My First Time (double entendre intended)

San Francisco.  I left my heart there two weeks ago and so many frickin' times before that.

The first time I was 16 years old and in trouble. 

You see, back in the day the most common activity for teens in my neighborhood was to cruise up and down the main drag.  It was called Summit Street.  If you were old enough to have a license, you cruised in a Camaro. For those less fortunate, a Dodge Dart or Ford Maverick.  

Bad Company would have been playing on the radio. 

If you weren’t old enough to drive, you simply walked up and down the street with your best friend named Mary until someone in a one of the above cars asked if you wanted to party.  They’d roll down the window and say, “Do you want to party?”

You would have been wearing hip huggers.  You would have said, yes.

I was a 15-year old who said yes.

He was 21. 


He had a Camaro.


A worker at the local Jeep plant, Bob had already gotten a girl pregnant, married her and a few months later divorced her.

We were together for over a year.  In that time he hit on two of my friends, did all types of drugs including heroin, and was jailed for fist fighting. He still owes me $100.00 for bail.  

Yes, he was indeed Bad Company.  

So why did I stay?  Was it a Florence Nightingale complex? Did I hope to save him?  No, I was smarter than that.  I think it's the fact that once I become involved with someone, it’s hard for me to detach.

Anyway, at the time only his family and my friends knew.  Their advice: terminate.  "You're an honor student," his mom said.  "You have a bright future ahead of you." Still, I was determined to follow through.  

Since I knew my life would be changing, I needed one last exploit.  Yes, I was that smart. I wrote to my aunt and uncle, who were in Hawaii on a vacation, asking if I could fly to San Francisco where their car was, meet them upon their return and drive back across the country with them.

At 16, I was no stranger to travel.  They had already taken me to London, Mexico, Yellowstone Park and Jamestown. 


Travel was my heroin.


I flew to San Francisco with my secret, soon to be discovered as I was puking my guts out in every public restroom.  Yet even in the midst of my misery, I patted my stomach and promised I would follow through. I would not terminate. 

It was a rough journey driving back home.  And worse, my aunt threatened to break the news to my parents by her birthday if I did not.  A week later, when my mom came into my bedroom and told me to get ready for my aunt's gathering, I refused.  I couldn’t go.  Not knowing my aunt would tell her what I could not.

“Selfish brat." That's what she said before storming off to the party. I lay in bed crying my guts out, fearful of her return.  As promised, my aunt broke the news to my mom.  She was devastated.  No, not at my condition  (she also urged me to terminate), my mom was hurt because I hadn't told her myself--to this day, she hasn’t forgiven me for the fact that my aunt found out first.  To my mom's chagrin, my aunt also found out first that I was getting a divorce. But that's another story.


Back to San Francisco. 


I didn’t much like the city at the time.  Being from the Midwest, the houses were too close together and the trees not tall enough.  My last escapade before settling down to what was ahead of me and I was greatly disappointed.

Still, on that rough road back across the country, something of the city seeped into my pores.  I didn’t know what it was.

After I returned, I called Bob and he came over.  Sitting at the chrome table in my parents’ kitchen, he told me I looked different.  He said it seemed something inside of me had changed.


And it had.


I sat across from him, assessing his long stringy hair, his crooked nose, his fake smile, his drug problem, his intellect--or rather his lack of--and right then and there I had a moment of clarity. I can't even say it was a vision of what my future would be like because it was not as concrete as that. It was a truly a moment.  A moment where something snapped. 

With no prior thought, no script in my head, my mouth opened and I told him I wanted nothing to do with him. 






Nothing to do with him. 


Nor his offspring.


I absolutely cannot explain why I changed my mind.  Or how.

The details that followed are not pretty.  They involve going to another state for a late term procedure, a dark dank hospital, a dim light, an injection, cramps, and a garbage can.

This is something I am not proud of.  But it is what happened. 

A short trip to that west coast city, a trip where I made a promise to myself, and afterwards, on the turn of a dime, did a total reversal.


I can’t say that I regret it.


Who knows what would have happened.  All I know is that something about traveling west to San Francisco changed the course of what could have been.  And something about that city stayed with me.  I vowed to return. 

It was another two years before I did. 

The next time under happier, hippie-er circumstances.  Stay tuned.


p.s. If I seem cryptic here, it is because my 13-year daughter reads this blog on occasion. Daughter, if you're out there--do not do what your mother has done. Use protection.  And find something better than Bad Company.  And some decent music as well.

You can find other true confessions and many not-so-true at Humor-Blogs.




Schmoop said...

Ha...You look great, but I started laughing because you mentioned the Camaro.

Man, I am getting old. Cheers Meg!!

Kaylia Metcalfe said...


It is so amazing to me how much women of diff ages and backgrounds can have in common.

I await your next SF adventure....

Suzie said...

Powerful story. You did what was right for you. That is what choice is all about

Debbie said...

What an emotional story. You are strong to tell it.

NannyGarcia said...

Intense. Glad I stopped by today.

Korie said...

I'm pretty sure you stop by my blog some so I hope you know how important and appreciated it is that you're choosing to share this with others.

sage said...

Tragic and painful--but a story that's all too familiar. I love your photos--the last one you look like a lot of the girls in my high school class. My first trip to SF was 10 years after high school--a woman I was dating had gone there for grad school and I was debating following her--I didn't, it was a bittersweet trip. I've been back many time since, but I still can't look at the city and the bridge from the Marin Highlands and not be a bit nostaligic.

Candice said...

Great post, Meg.

I also had a crush on a guy with a camero.

He was a fucking douche.

Kevenj said...

Good story Meg. Thanks for sharing it with us.
On the other side I also am guilty of going hog wild in the day.Did plenty I'm not proud of.
Now raising some kids that played with teenagers at the church just 12 years ago then hearing one of those teen girls just had her 6th child....
Some just can't wait to get out.

Notes and letters to myself.... said...

One of the reason I enjoy reading your journal is because you really bring the reader in as you tell your story -- and your truth. I felt like I was right there with you along for the journey.

Thanks for sharing something so personal and I am sure painful.

Jen said...

I commend you for having the courage to tell this story. I look forward to the next installment of the SF Chronicles.

Jeff and Charli Lee said...

Whoa... kinda heavy... but very powerful. Thanks for sharing.

I went back in time today too.

A Free Man said...

Wow. I was right. When you write like this, you can tear it up. This is real and heartrending and just beautiful writing, Meg.

I wish I had had a Camaro as a young man, you don't get too many ladies with a beat up Mazda 323...

I can relate to so much of this. Not being able to leave a clearly destructive relationship. The escape of travel. The struggles with family. The whole lot.

JD at I Do Things said...

What a brave story. Thank you for sharing it. I'm so happy for you that you have no regrets. Sometimes there's really no right or wrong -- just a question of regret.

bernthis said...

I wish I had that clarity when I met my then soon to be ex husband. Oh how I wish I'd had the clarity to take the "other" road.

for a different kind of girl said...

What a glad you felt comfortable enough to share it.

I had a Dodge Dart. It only had AM radio, so that, and the fact I pretty much looked like hell at 16, took care of the lack of Bad Company in my life at the time.

TwoBusy said...

A tough story, but extremely well-told. Can't wait for your other tales of the city.

ReformingGeek said...

Great story, Meg. I worked with a girl that also terminated around that age. It was the best choice for her, too.

Honeybell said...

Amazingly well done. Here I sit, still adoring you.

The Vengeance said...

Amazing. My heart goes out to you for the pain. And in the opposite direction I admire your strength, both in sharing this, and your actions, so long ago. Bless you, hon.

P.S. Why the HELL do the men get all the camaros!? Buck that sexist bitch and get yourself some serious wheels! I'm the proud (FEMALE) owner of one of those beauties. It may be up on blocks, but damned if I don't still own it. ^_^

L'Artisan said...

I'm so sorry you had to go through that. But it helped strengthen you, as all tough experiences do. Bless you for sharing it with your daughter -- if all mothers were as honest, we would be a lot better off.

Tribe said...

Cool blog, Meg. It's on my reader now.