Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream

There's no place like San Francisco.

In five days, we:

- experienced camping in Union Square (our hotel's bed was more like a bedroll, slanted, and with pointy springs, and if Keith and I were obese, we couldn't have fit in the room together)
- heard dozens of languages on a single bus ride
- saw amazing silk embroidery art at the Asian Arts Center in Chinatown
- ate and ate and ate and even drank one meal (which was not as bad it sounds -- we just ate too much in the middle of the day and ended the evening with only a glass of wine and a piece of sourdough bread at the wharf)
- race/walked 2 miles from Castro and Market to Powell and Sutter to catch a play at 8 pm (the buses were too full and weren't stopping and the underground was down). I can apparently do 2 miles in 30 minutes. Take that, marathon-running people! Funny, how I can walk and walk and walk on concrete, but put me in anything that even appears like "the wild" (like an overgrown park, perhaps) and I can't walk 30 feet.
- browsed bookstores with cats who live in them
- walked past the con men and the homeless -- often not the same thing
- saw a man typing on a Remington in front of Ben and Jerry's on the corner of Haight and Ashbury. Name your price, name your subject, and he'll type a poem.
- saw more ads for the iPad than ads for Starbucks
- saw a man walking down the street with a live chicken on his head
- went to Ocean Beach and froze in the sunlight
- had dinner with two fabulous friends (and when we couldn't identify some of the food on the menu, they had both iPad and iPhone options for us to look up the food) Oh, how I want an iP.... stop it! Stop it!
- saw hundreds of people trying to get to the Civic Center on Saturday night in tuxes and gowns for the annual Black and White Ball (and without Muni service it was fascinating to see how fast those women (and some of the men!) can go in those heels)
- watched the ferries depart from the Ferry Building as the fog fell at dusk
- were serenaded one morning by a man singing "This Little Light of Mine" on the sidewalk beneath our hotel/campsite
- saw too many accessory dogs and nowhere near enough cats
- ate dinner at 10:30 the night of the Infamous Two Mile Walk. In Prescott, your only dining choice at 10:30 at night would be Denny's. In San Francisco, well, it hadn't even gotten started yet.
- used the fire escape as a refrigerator because, yes, the hotel/campsite did not have a mini-fridge

What is it about San Francisco?

Perhaps it's because we get to the City on BART and leave on BART, so we have to emerge from underneath the earth to be in San Francisco, and then descend back into the earth to return to our "regular" world. That makes everything mythical from the first steps. Perhaps because so much is happening every millisecond, we are forced to forget the regular world and must adapt immediately to this extraordinary world. Perhaps because the City feels real -- the light with the dark, the creativity with the destruction, the abundance with the scarcity -- nothing feels hidden away. We can't forget that there are 6 billion other worlds. We can't slip into complacency without a lot of effort (or substances).

The City keeps pulling you back to it. Back to the concrete and the earthquakes and the crack pipes and the uber-chic-vegan-gluten-free-sushi-places. It pulls you back to all the possibilities available to you. It pulls you out of routine, out of predictability, out of stagnation.

You have to move, but even if you hop on the wrong bus, another one will be around eventually to bring you back. How's that for magic? Click your heels, baby. You had it all along.

Powell Street BART/MUNI station

Keezel and I at Ocean Beach

Poignant end-of-movie scene (cue Bette Midler song) where Girl and Monkey look out at Vastness of Ocean and discover Important Truth about Self and World and Impermanence. 
San Francisco, you are the Wind Beneath My Wings.


Tarl Kudrick said...

Hey Laraine. Very proud to be able to say I knew you once! I'll try to get in touch with you more directly.

Tarl, MVHS class of 1986

(c'mon, you really need a last name? How many Tarls have you known? :-)

Anonymous said...

April showers bring May flowers..............................................