It blew me away. The boy I knew best for causing commotion with me, hand in hand, like two sidekicks that had been made to come together as one unstoppable pair of mischief-makers, had nothing to say that would make me bounce in my seat. This time, I was across the country doing my own thing with my own group of laid-back and personal trouble-makers, while Ben was stuck in a college dorm room filled to drowning level with jock-o's and dumb blondes and people that had never been introduced to the best friend that Ben called excitement. Did I have him beat? Had I chosen a place where I could continue to thrive while he had chosen a place that would only dull him to his last nerve? Was it true that the infamous Ben Danger of the Benjamin Danger Appreciation Society had nothing to share for stories but the number of times he'd ridden down a hill on his snowboard?
Unfortunately, it was.
And it made me think about the conversation I'd had with him only a week previous, during which I had practically exploded in a combustion of stories; artistic masterpieces, sketchy underwear and iPod thieves, skateboard falls, fashion shows, alcoholic tendencies, everything from only a few weeks of living in a place where people like me could do what we did best. Ben and I were two people that were practically professionals at making life the most fun and enjoyable it could be, and I had gone away and done just that. Sure, it wasn't the same lifestyle I lived in Burlington, where thrill and excitement were what people woke up every morning thinking about and spent their entire days seeking. In fact, here in San Francisco I didn't do anything of the sort. I took any time I could to sit and do nothing, because hardcore work populated the greater portion of my schedule. I stayed at home most of the time, spending time with Bob and Bunny and enjoying the idea of peacefulness. But at the same time, I remembered the time we'd done mushrooms and wandered through Golden Gate Park on a five-mile trek to Ocean Beach in the middle of the night. I remembered the Couture Trash show, and sneaking bottles of wine into Starbucks coffee cups in order to get drunk enough to successfully walk on a runway without peeing myself. I remembered the many nights spent playing DDR to mass extents, followed by a drunken dance party inspired by the sips of wine and Steel Reserve between steps and songs. And the walks Bob and I took to North Beach on days we were bored, walking all the way across the city, up and down the steepest hills, just to take a good enough look around. I thought about the nights at Bondage-a-gogo, and the night Bob and I went to the Power Exchange and had oral sex with another attractive teenage couple in a jungle-themed room filled with spectators. I remembered the night Bunny lost her contact lens and we guided her across the city blind as a bat, while she tried to make invisible friends on the bus. There were all the times we'd explored the St. Francis Westin, flying down thirty-one flights of stairs, stealing vacuum cleaners that exploded on themselves after two uses, snagging signs galore from the walls, and finding secret rooms and thirty first floor balconies that surely troublesome college kids like us were not meant to find. I remembered exploring the fire escape of the Sir Francais Drake only to find the most incredible rooftop of the city, which cornered the employee smoke area of the Star Room, supposedly the most prestigious and expensive club in the city. I remembered the two second earthquake, the first one of my life, that I came out of alive and thrilled and only a little shaken up, homework still in tact on my computer screen. I remembered all the times I flew down O'Farrell St. on my longboard and felt like there was no better feeling in the world than going at such an amazing speed with four lanes of beautiful road at my wheels. And there were all the times Alucard had run straight into a wall or fallen over something or looked at us some funny way with his dopey cross-eyes.
There were so many stories that I obtained almost inevitably by choosing a place fitting enough for the lifestyle I loved so dearly. I walked home today with the sun shining after another random ten minute rain storm, the sidewalk cracks shuffling my steps and everybody walking the opposite direction smiling at me, because I realized I had this huge, unstoppable smile wiped wide across my face, and I felt perfect. San Francisco was just that kind of place that dazzled people; made them wake up every morning and contemplate how they possibly got lucky enough to end up in a place so infatuating. Every morning, whether rain, sun, fog, or earthquake, people couldn't resist the smile that came to face when they realized they were in fact HERE, in San Francisco, among the hills, the fashion, the art, the attitude, and the presence. Stories were just part of the deal, and were presented to me life gift-wrapped and bow-tied presents every morning, almost like a reward for just getting out of bed. I had those stories, and I loved them each and every time they came around, and I didn't understand how Ben could find the heart to move to such a place where those stories were unheard of and absent. I realized I could never allow myself to give up the lifestyle of adventure-induced happiness by occupying a place that didn't understand such a thing. Ben Danger had no stories to tell his most avid fan and listener and story-telling companion; all he could really say was a subtle message to me that I was sure he hadn't even intended to convey. I knew I'd never question my current whereabouts again, because I was sure now that I was exactly where I needed to be.