I used to be afraid to say the words, “I don’t know.” One of my biggest fears was admitting I didn’t know something, whether it was how to scuba dive or where St. Charles was located or how to properly light barbeque charcoals. For a long time I got away with a confident nod and a smile, which would deceive people into thinking I knew what I was talking about when in fact, I had no idea.
There was a particular period in my life where this whole charade became utterly exhausting and more trouble than it was worth. It was shortly after I graduated from college and I was living with roommates in a very hip part of San Francisco called Hayes Valley. Within a few months of living there I befriended a number of people in the neighborhood and became good friends with a couple of guys who lived down the street. Both exuded this almost tangible sense of cool; one had a very exotic and odd Finnish name, even though neither he nor his parents (or grandparents, for that matter) were from Finland. The other was tall and lanky and played guitar and spun records on his Technics 1200s in his spare time. Together they were the hipster poster boys for our stylish little ‘hood: all vintage threads, Swedish minimalism and wispy indifference. All the hipster girls in the neighborhood vied for their attention.