I brought in the new year in a daze. I wish I could say I was drunk, but I wasn’t. It wouldn’t be out of the question to guess that I was just really bored. I’d had two glasses of sangria and one hit of weed from a strange girl’s pipe in the basement of the bar we were at, which was covered in graffiti that dated back to who knows how long. When she asked where I was from earlier and I answered Los Angeles, she nodded and laughed and told me I had the LA vibe. She said that I was “coolly reserved” and then took another large hit off her pipe, and whispered through a veil of ribboned smoke that I looked like a young Liv Tyler, and stumbled away like a drunk mermaid (it would make more sense if you saw it in person). I saw her after midnight again; she was on acid this time. She told me I seemed creative and asked what I did and I said, “I’m a writer…I guess”.

I guess. But I hate it. I can’t read anyone else’s writing without wishing it was my own.

She was the most interesting and pleasant encounter I had all night and I can’t even remember her name and I will never see her again. We were both very sparkly and I always tend to gravitate toward the most shiny and most fucked up and least “coolly reserved” people. I walked in and out of the bar last night many times to smoke and weird people would come and chat and ask me for a lighter and make awkward attempts at hitting on me. One man was particularly gregarious in his attempts, but was too drunk and ADD to follow through or make any interesting conversation aside from repeating, “Happy New Year, Ciara”, every time I saw him by the curb outside.

I chalked him up to a lost cause and a semi-interesting person, were he not so disgustingly flippant. Not that I’m interested but I’m always curious to know why people seem to want to know me.  People find me interesting, but I find them mostly repulsive. The men here can’t see me glare because one eye is covered by their hair and the women can’t see my eye rolls because their fake eyelashes are too heavy. I had five different drinks spilled on my tights. None of them were my own. “Among other things, you’ll find you’re not the first one who was ever confused and frightened and even sickened by human behavior.”

At least he remembered my name.

And then there was the poor soul that actually took me to this event that I was less than enthused about and put me on the guest list so that I wouldn’t have to pay $15. Poor Mike, I don’t enjoy his company as much as he does mine. He’s very nice. He’s smart, he’s talented, but he is also very short. My self-diagnosed superiority complex emerges when I spend time with him since I am four inches taller (six or seven with heels). I stand up straighter when we’re together. Someone should shoot me down for this paragraph and each that came before it. It did not help that I did not want to go out in the first place, I would have been more content eating Trader Joe’s Thai Vegetable Gyozas, drinking old-fashioneds, and watching movies alone, but instead I went out and I avoided his gaze nearly the entire night and he followed me around and looked up at me, my head in a cloud of smoke. I only smoked so much because he tried to make me feel guilty about it. He is a vegan who will only drink tea and has a green smoothie every morning. But I’m taller and stronger and better dressed and more sparkly and I don’t feel anything unless it’s boredom or indifference. Not last night, anyway. So, poor Mike, I’m awful, whatever. He gave me a drink ticket and a ride there and back and I left and smoked while his band played. They’re good, actually.

All of the bands were good. The best part of the entire night was every band; each of them local to San Francisco, with musical influences that I could pinpoint easily, but hey, I was in a dive bar in the Mission District and not the Disney Concert Hall or anything, so I took them for what they were: a six piece with great stage presence who sounded like The Hives and sang a great song about a mother falling asleep with a lit cigarette and dying, a psychedelic rock band reminiscent of The Flaming Lips and The Apples In Stereo (Mike’s band), a cute indie-rock band with two twins who both looked like Bud Cort in Harold and Maude and hung out backstage all night surrounded by pretty girls, and a solo-act with a Macbook and a smoke machine who was a less interesting Black Moth Super Rainbow. It was varied and the crowd was varied and everyone was dancing and the also looked like they were having fun, which is weird and different from any show I’ve seen in LA. So to make fun of their hair or their eyelashes is petty, I guess, but I’m allowed.

I couldn’t help but enjoy myself even more than a tiny bit in that crowd. It’s so different here and I like that. Even when I’m experiencing boredom or anxiety or sadness, it’s still better than the same feelings I experienced in Simi Valley. The fact that people aren’t afraid to dance and look silly, the fact that there’s not always a huge gap between the audience and the stage, the fact the people here still use flip phones, and alcoholic beverages are made with craft and thought, and every restaurant has at least one vegan option. It’s all very genuine to the point that I feel incredibly disingenuous in this atmosphere sometimes.

After the third band, midnight came around and free champagne was passed around and everyone was hugging and kissing and balloons fell from the ceiling and Mike was looking up at me and I was looking anywhere but down and wishing that Mike was not Mike and instead another and I poured the cheap champagne down my throat and excused myself from his gaze and ran outside to smoke. Around two in the morning, we decided to leave. The bar was closing anyway and I was secretly hungry and more than happy to finally be free. Mike drove me home and I said thank you and basically bolted from the passenger side of the car, as he gave me a small pat on the back that should have ended up a hug, and up the front steps to my house where I made Trader Joe’s Vegetable Thai Gyozas and quinoa and fell asleep to Une Femme Est Une Femme because even though it’s a “new year” some things will never change.