The City suddenly looks mighty fine. It’s the schlumpy, second-best guy who shows up one day with a decent haircut and a crisp t-shirt, making me bat my eyelashes and say, why, San Francisco, have you been working out?
It might be new freedom, or the autumn sunshine that took its sweet time this year. Nothing like sunshine for making strangers flirt at bus-stops; for getting people out of their goddamn cars; for making girls look good. Whatever it is, I’m glad to wake up in love again after eight months of pining for Brooklyn.
This week, as every week, some wireless technology conference had hundreds of blue shirts spilling outside the Moscone Center, so busy tapping on their phones that they didn’t notice the fog had lifted. It brought some New York friends to town, and over dinners they said all the things I’d said. Wow, the panhandlers are scary aggressive here. I’ve never seen so many homeless people. The buses suck. It just doesn’t have the energy of New York, does it?
These things are true, but don’t seem important any more. Other things are also true. San Francisco is a boomtown, and in a boomtown every street has a story, if you’ll listen. The surf crashes, the mountains rear, and the bridges are handsome. There are enough immigrants from enough places to make it interesting, and an outpost of my hometown warm enough to swap stories about four-inch bathwater and childhood sweets. In San Francisco, even people with day jobs weld giant robots, play thrash metal, write bad novels or–God forbid–start baby companies. Sometimes they turn the biggest hills into ski runs, just for the hell of it. San Francisco is daft enough to come up with Burning Man, or the Idiotarod, or Bill Graham’s Fillmore.
There are five fine second-hand bookstores within fifteen blocks of my house on a hill. Nearby there’s a yoga studio that does that funny but soothing No-Cal chakra chat, while the sixty students practice sighs and groans right out of a Ron Jeremy movie. Down the street, Phil makes handmade coffee by the cup.
The threat of an earthquake reminds us of all we have to celebrate and all we have to lose.
I’m a simple woman. It takes only these things, and eight months to notice them, to make me happy.