On September 20, as previously reported, Jeff and I went to a presentation in conjuction with the release of a book about Westlake, and were invited to a party at the author’s house on Saturday the 30th.
A bit trepidatiously (Jeff and I both can be a bit shy in large groups of strangers), we arrived at the party to be heartily greeted at the door by Rob, who remembered our names and immediately took us in hand to meet a few of their friends, introducing us to them as “our new friends.”
We had a wonderful time, and met some really fantastic people, many of them fellow Westlake denizens. We met Michael Nava, lawyer and author of the wonderful Henry Rios mysteries from the 80s and 90s, and his partner, George. And George introduced us to a neighbor of theirs, saying “I think the two of you even work for the same company.” Seeing the puzzled look on my face–I don’t tend to think of the university as a “company”–he followed up, “UCSF, right?” I nodded, “yes,” and he noted that the neighbor works at UCSF too.
I asked Richard–the fellow UCSF employee–which campus he works at (we have more than a half-dozen locations around the city, as well as a program in Fresno). It turns out that he not only works for the same university (and as my co-workers today reminded me, that’s not all that unusual given that UCSF has 19,000 employees and is the second largest employer in San Francisco), but at the same location, in the same building, in the suite across the hall from my own! We’ve already made plans to have lunch together on Friday.
He also gave me some advice about commuting, which I tried out this morning, and it’s a wonderful change. It doesn’t shave a whole lot of time off of the commute–maybe reducing it from 30 minutes to 25, perhaps a little less once I become more familiar with it–but even if it were exactly the same amount of time it would still be preferable, because it involves driving down Skyline Drive and then up the Great Highway, paralleling the Pacific Ocean only a couple dozen meters away, for about half of my ten-mile one-way commute; and another portion of the remaining five miles is along Golden Gate Park. There’s something about starting one’s day driving along the ocean and through the trees that’s good for the psyche, and the trip home today was just incredible, with the sun just setting over the ocean, bathing everything in a rosy gold aura. Surfers in their wet suits were climbing into their jeeps, men in shorts were jogging along the boardwalk, couples were walking hand in hand on the sand. It was a really nice way to ground myself again after a long crazy-busy day at work.
We ended up staying very late at the party, not leaving until around 2 am; we started to leave several times before that, probably beginning as early as 11 pm, but we kept getting brought back into conversation with Rob. I really like both him and Espie, and all their friends we met, and I feel like we’ve made some great new connections here in Westlake.