Pelican on a pier

October 19th, 2013, 7pm

Every single day I was in San Francisco (almost 3 weeks), I rode my bike out to the ocean, or to the Golden Gate Bridge for sunset. My return trip always included a view of this bridge from some pier. And every night, some pelican would join me. I decided it was always the same pelican. One night I said to him “See you tomorrow! Same time same place!” He cocked his head and thought I was crazy. I did not return to that same pier the next night, nor the next. I can’t shake the feeling that I stood up my little bird friend, and maybe broke his heart.

I fell in love again this week, or something like it.

Almost a year ago, I left a man I’d been with for 7 1/2 years. A man who everyone knew was dead wrong for me. A man I should have left after the first major red flags six months in. Yet I somehow believed I was incapable of feeling this ‘love’ thing for anyone else because honestly: I’m a picky bitch.

And so - it is with great awe and humor and inspiration that I report: my heart has been broken by another a few times in the past few months.

So…. San Francisco.

A man broke my heart in Portland, and I thought “I need to get the hell out of town and regain my sense of adventure, immerse myself in the vibrant SF tech scene. I need to forget about him and our canoe trip and planned typhoon chasing and epic conversations and his words ‘we should just be friends’. I need to find the inspiration and clarity to get over this and get back to work! And I will find it in San Francisco. ”

I made a list of people I thought it was important to connect with. One by one, I sent e-mails, mentioning why they inspire me, the business I’m working on, and that we should meet for coffee. I had a mild lump in my throat when I hit ‘send’ on most of these invites; all incredible people that I would quake to form a relationship with.

But one was special. There was one tech entrepreneur among the group that climbs mountains. Wait: that is an understatement. He is one of 150 people in the world who has summited the highest peak on each continent (including Everest, solo). He swam the English Channel. He rowed across the arctic (I was on my school row/crew team) collecting samples of plankton for climate change research (environmental science was my major).

His bio gives me brain-gasms.

It never crossed my mind that a nerd crush or a professional crush (of which I have many) could also ever be a person I was physically attracted to.

He called me 15 minutes after I sent the e-mail, and said “Can we meet right now?” Before I even got to the coffee shop, he ‘friended’ me on Facebook.

The second he walked in, my jaw hit the floor. He was not supposed to be that attractive. We were both a bit awe-struck. The barista commented on how hard he was flirting with me. He kept trying to chit chat, and I kept steering it toward a business meeting.

“Why did you want to meet with me?” he was leaning in, eyes twinkling, cheeks blushing.

“I feel like I’m coming from a corn field in Nebraska, hoping to be a Silicon Valley tech startup. I wanted to expand my network, learn from other smart people, and more importantly - maybe have some people in my life that share both my greatest passions: mountaineering and mission-driven startups.”

“Oh. So it’s a business meeting” he sat up, grin diminished, diverted his gaze.

“Yeah, a business meeting.”

Deep sigh “Well… how can I help you?”

I don’t remember how to flirt. I definitely don’t understand how to mix professional and personal relationships. More importantly, I don’t know how to deal with a feeling like this. I have never (I don’t think) been so immediately overwhelmingly smitten with another human being.

Afterward, I sent some pathetic e-mail about being flabbergasted by his beauty and thus unable to form coherent sentences. And THAT… yeah, that was a bad idea.

He didn’t respond to my e-mail. Or… um, that second message.

Two days later: I was couch surfing in San Francisco. I only contacted 4 potential hosts, 3 said yes. I show up at one ‘hosts’ house. We are sharing wine and chatting, when he asks me about mountaineering. Turns out, he’s motivated by summits, too! We geek out, and I mention “I just met this guy last week who has done the 7 Summits.”

My ‘host’ responds: “Oh ___? Yeah, he’s a good friend of mine! Was just at my apartment two days ago for a party.”

Great. Now all parties thinking I’m stalking this guy who I found on the internet, e-mailed out of the blue, wrote some pathetic love-ish note to, and then slept on his good friends’ couch for a few days.

He did NOT yet ‘unfriend’ me on FB.

More motivation to actually rock my startup: become known as that one female mountaineering tech CEO, and win the man.

Not that I’m stalking him or anything.

  • Clarification: not to ruin the poetic nature of those last two sentences, but they are tongue & cheek. No man motivates me more than my startup dreams themselves. Peace - and maybe love one day.  ; )

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Lindsay Caron

Hike, bike, run, climb, dance, sing, volunteer, organize, create, debate, smile, skip, summit, ski, swim, sing some more! Tech startups for social change!! Used to write, organize festivals, documentaries..., About.Me/LindsayCaron

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