Back to the earlier point of this blog, writing about walks. Now, this may be intensely boring.
Walked up the Columbus Ave. strip yesterday at the after hour lunch period. It was one of those early autumn/late summer days. All of the tourists were at outside tables. Every table was packed. Walked by St. Peter and Paul church and took a right at Stockton to hit the Post Office- d’oh! – denied. It was closed for Columbus Day (not called Native American people’s day by anyone in North Beach, probably because they are very proud of their homeboy.).
Walked out to the ATM on Columbus and transacted shady business with my checking account. Feeling sullied and illicit, continued down Columbus uneventfully – minus dodging some tourists who just don’t know how to walk on the sidewalk – to Broadway. Took a left. I had an insight while walking by the titty bars, smelling of bleach, the rosy faced girls on the posters shining at no one in particular, asses in air, boobs pointed out. Insight: nothing nasty really survives the natural bleach of daylight.
Looked up Romolo alley to my favorite bar, Basque Hotel, (or 15 Romolo). Almost got run over by a woman exiting a parking lot backwards. I told her, as she pulled up and lowered her window to tell me “sorry” “You’re going to kill someone.” I said it seriously, like David Sedaris does in Santaland Diaries: woman says: “we don’t want a chocolate santa” David: “that’s all you get.” woman: ” I could have you fired!” david: “I could have you killed.”
Thought about the fact that this used to be a huge prostitution/Latina ghetto in the 1800s, and how it still is the disreputable area. On Fridays, these two blocks are clogged with 19 year old bridge and tunnelers dragging and cruising.
Walked by OnLok. They have a very great mission, and they’re wonderful in general, and that’s one of the reasons I love SF. I don’t know much about them besides what that website, and several plaques say at the old location on Mason (or is it Powell?).
Walked by an empty playground. I walked by about 3 of those. Holiday!
Took a right at Battery and headed towards Jackson Square and the coolness therein. My novel has the main girl working at an advertising company here, so I tried to soak up all of the details of the environment. All I really thought of, though, was how I wanted to find a mailbox that had pickup past 1PM so my NetFlix would get in faster than it would if it went in the mail by tomorrow. God, I’m cheap.
Decided to plan the return loop so I headed towards Specialties for a wheat germ cookie and water. My medication makes me mad thirsty. There ran into an old lunch buddy and we walked towards Telegraph Hill back up Sansome. I skirted the hill, walking all the way down Sansome, by the Levi Strauss complex of offices and Levi Plaza. I try to stay as close to the cliffs as possible. There was an incredible smell of fennel all along the cliff. I wondered if this is what it smelled like all the time before SF exploded in ’49. It’s a warm, grassy smell but with the herbal and licorice edge.
Detour through another retirement community, at the Francisco stairs, where I witnessed a Cantonese nurse yell at a senior citizen “WHASSUP????”. God that was so funny. The senior lady looked at me quizzically, and I looked at her. End of scene. Exuent.
Thus ends the walk around Telegraph Hill.