This 101 mission of 2012 is really to challenge me out of my comfort zone and the often unreasonable, misplaced and undeserving loyalty issues that I have. I refuel my car at the same gas station, whenever possible, for crying out loud – taking a detour out of my way to fill up there instead of on my way to the highway. I’ve been unhappy about my car wash place for a year now and yet keep going back to them. Don’t even get me started on my 8 visits to the same Peruvian restaurant in SF in two weeks this one time last year…

But sometimes you need to cut yourself some slack even in your most zealously disciplinarian moments. Today, I reclaimed my life from my whip-cracking psyche. Watch me, I mouthed to myself, as I go back to all the safe comfort zones today. The sense of rebellion gave me the shot of energy and rush I needed to stop lazing around and actually get off my posterior and enjoy the glorious weather!

I called my hair salon. An hour drive away, it’s a little odd that I’d inconvenience myself that much for a haircut, even for me. It’s a good experience but to go out of town and across the bay for it? Let’s just chalk it up to historical reasons – and I blame it all on Simika for discovering the almost-perfect gem of a haircutting place near where SHE lived, in complete disregard to the proximity issue for others, and then on top of it, introducing us to it AND getting us hooked on to Mu Salon – sigh.

They had a noon slot. I ventured forth but not without a stop at my gas station first. Smirk!

Then I was on my way, gliding through the amazing rolling hills covered in a plush green carpet after the rains. Such spectacular landscape and only a mere half hour from my doorstep – sometimes I do think I’m in paradise on earth.

As for the haircut: I’m still mulling over whether the haircut was worth it. Maybe I’ll look for a local option one day. For now, at least my head feels light enough to carry without a neck sprain!


On my way out, my rebellion streak a little muted, I spied a cute cafe. Woefully behind in my 101 project, I went in. A tuna melt on an asiago cheese bagel: nothing super exciting. But it was fun sitting at the cafe by myself, people watching. The servers seemed to know most of the locals, down to what bread/bagel they preferred. There was a young man, an out of job programmer-turned-entrepreneur, who had camped out at the cafe as his new-found office space. Soon we had struck up a conversation across tables and in a few minutes, our sandwich person came to join us from behind the bagel counter, lamenting the hard economic times overall, despite ‘macro’ level indicators of a sustained recovery.

A quick grab and go sandwich became an hour of relaxed munching, as the three of us relocated to an outside table to let the sun undo the knots in our shoulders from the week’s trials and tribulations. I’m not even a heliophile. Yet, the conversation was relaxing, an underlying hopeful tone adding buoyancy to an otherwise dire chitchat of hopes dashed and opportunities past. There was a palpable ‘yes, but’ glimmer, a sunny blue sky following a thunderstorm. We even googled the image of 9 thunderbolts hitting the Bay Bridge two nights ago.

Such an interesting experience warranted an immediate Bites Out entry, as I sit outside the cafe right now (beginning to sunburn and also turn blind from the glare), skipping 20 or so other piled up eateries awaiting patiently in queue for their turn in the Bites Out limelight … Oh well. I guess I’m not writing chronologically anymore. There, another act of rebellion. Hah.


Sunrise Bagel was an interesting confluence of comfort and angst, of the troubled waters past, the rapids ahead and the glimpse of the serenity of the tranquil pool over yonder, and of spring blooms awash in the radiant sunlight of the after-rains and post-thunderstorms.