February 4, 2008 The first time I went home with a complete stranger was in San Francisco. (Not counting the time Helena and I camped in Fishman's high school girlfriend's yard during Gathering of the Vibes. Alleged ex-girlfriend graciously invited us to eat cold Chef Boyardee on lawn chairs in front of her house and to use her bathroom, which had chili pepper lights encircling the mirror, which I thought was very cool.)
However this time it was Super Bowl Sunday and I was singing at a venue/laundromat/bar/internet café called Brainwash. Aside from the bartender the audience consisted of a handful of disinterested laptops, their operators, and a couple of spin cycles. I didn't make a cent. Nor a fan, though during the concert (if you can call it that) one guy looked me up online and emailed just to say "hey."
Sigh... there have been so many nights like this. Having set out with dreams of stardom I found myself stranded in cold, starless San Francisco with no money for a room and no friend to call. That's when Rashi approached.
"Are you really going to sleep in your car?”
“Mmm. I don’t really know where I’ll go.”
“If you want, you can stay with me.”
The fog lifted. I waited while she closed and then we drove up and down San Francisco’s hills, lights rising and falling in silent waves. I carried my sleeping bag and guitar inside the creaky blue house, stepping around plants, boots, and bicycles. She gave me a bag of the day-old bagels and a bottle of juice, showed me a place to spread out, smoked a bowl on her bed, and fell asleep.
I washed my face with cold water and paused before the kitchen window, soaking in the view. From here the city twinkled, a rainbow of stars.
Thank you, Rashi, wherever you are. Thank you to all who have sheltered me from the storms. I couldn't have made it without you.