Betty had a loft near Fourth and Townsend, where the Caltrain disgorged workers every morning, and sent SF people to San Jose for jobs at Big Blue or other points South. In reality it was an infrequently used train station. Situated 15 minutes walking from downtown SF, through the winos and homeless, large one-ways where sidewalks were an afterthought. Buses ran on the driver’s own schedule, and few cabs waited out front.
Betty’s loft was one of the new ones. For decades, artists were supposed to have lived in these drafty kitchenless warehouses, but lately they’d been rebuilt. Still no insulation so San Francisco foggy mornings crept in and froze whoever wasn’t swaddled in 1200 threadcount sateen.
That morning she made espresso in her stainless steel kitchen, nothing was on the walls yet, and she had barely unpacked from her last flight, but she phoned her new best friend Anita hoping she could meet her for lunch like they’d planned.
Betty was incredibly bored. She had moved to San Francisco for a man, obviously, and until she figured out how that was going to play out, she needed a friend. Anita was a chatty girl who had offered up conversation, and her massive amount of acquaintances and friends, at a boring party up in the hills. Because she went to MIT and had an MBA, Betty had a nice ring of college contacts, but she wouldn’t call them friends. They traded emails about jobs, and gave references, but she’d never felt close to them.
She felt closer to her climbing partner at Mission Cliffs than any of the random guys that picked her up when she went to through her graduate program. She’d been pretty driven and focused, and refused to act dumb or clueless when one of them started monologing about their investment strategy, or thoughts on Clintonian economics
She was trying to make female friends, not because she wanted to shop for shoes, but because they didn’t tend to lecture her about things so endlessly. After a few outings with Anita, she’d finally met someone cool. She left a message for Anita to meet her at Cafe Centro and walked the half mile over to the ellilptical park to see her new buddy. And, if the she had heard right, Anita knew how to get her in contact again with Paul, and he was the reason she was here in this soulless city.