MAYBERRY, USA or MY BELOVED SAN FRANCISCO, CA?!?!?

oh, dear...


Yesterday my pal, Bethie, and I “did” a sort of brunch thing here in the city. The odd thing was how oddly quiet San Francisco was. For well over three hours I heard no sirens, slamming of brakes, horns, crazy homeless people yelling, junkies roaming about lost, crack whores peddling their goodies, teens screaming in languages unknown to me or scantly glad gay men. After Bethie returned to her home, I took a walk down to the ocean and only saw soccer moms and happy white children frolicking about.

this was more the sort of person I saw yesterday in San Francisco...

and faithful looking dads strolling about in cargo shorts. Where were all the tat’d surfer dudes and hippie chicks?

Well, this morning I rode with the hubby, Mr. B, to San Rafael so that he could take measurements and photos of a building for which he must do some re-design work. Then, I drop’d him off at his office. As I drove from downtown San Francisco back to Sutter Beach San Francisco, I am happy to report that charming and “normal” aspects of my city had returned to form. Yes, as I drove up Sutter and back down via O’Farrell to Divisadaro to Haight to Geary Blvd I saw that things were truly back to form. A stoned psuedo hippie stepped in front of the car as I was turning a corner. Horns were blasting all around me. Cantonese, Spanish, Korean, Polish, and English obscenities and joys were being screamed about. Gay men disguised as in shape gym bunnies were romping about inappropriately next to nothing despite the deceptively sunny morning with temp at about 57 degrees. The rest of us in our various forms of layering for the day looked on in confusion. Those boys nipples are going to just pop off! And even the crack whores were starting to get an early jump on the day. I only saw one soccer mom struggling with one of those strollers that requires an engineer to unfold. And, even then, a homeless veteran was hustling her for some money. She ignored him.

Yes. I was home and the Mayberry Pod People had not taken over!

...from last year's PRIDE, but this is what the gay boys looked like this morning

Thank Goodness! …I was getting worried!

And, I felt a great stir of pride as I walked by the evil empire known as Starbucks and walked into my fave independently-owned coffee/donut shop where they know my name and got a kick-ass cup of java. I drove to the ocean and watched the surfer dudes struggle to find waves to catch and all the hippie chicks watching them as they shared a joint. Yep. I was home.

April 26, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , . Uncategorized. 3 comments.

OLD SHOES


How long had it been since I wore these Fluevog shoes? At least four years – maybe a bit longer, actually. This morning I found them sneaking a look at me from behind the mess in our tiny bedroom closet floor. I dug past tennis and dress shoes long forgotten and pulled them out.

I slipped my feet into them. They felt somehow comforting. These old shoes of mine for which I had paid what I had felt was far too much. I bought them on Newbury Street in Boston several months before I decided to forever leave that city and to head to Northern California. I can remember breaking them in that winter. My feet were far too cold in the snow to notice the pain from the unworked leather bindings of Mr. Fluevog’s design.

One early evening I trounced through the South End with this man I quite liked. He admired my determination to get them to have that “worked in” feel. We stopped at a coffee shop and he explained how he didn’t feel he could walk away from a profession that not only fueled his wallet but his self-confidence. A fake bit of confidence that was flaking away quickly as he had just celebrated his 45th birthday. …Tho, to any of his clients, he had only just turned 35. Clients, upon his initial meeting were far too desperate and lonely to protest that he didn’t exactly match the picture that sold his services. He had kept up the muscles, but smile lines were etched firmly into his face and the challenges of time had somehow covered his once firm six-pack with a small belly. But, he was still handsome and knew how to work it.

I can remember him holding his giant coffee cup with two hands. Looking at me in a way that reminded me of a frightened child, “Matt, I just can’t quit what I do. I need it and them as much as they need me.”

I can remember sitting quietly weighing the thoughts that were racing through my already muddled head. I can remember shifting as the combined warmth of my hot-coca surroundings made me aware of the pain inflicted by my new shoes.

“Nothing has to change between us. I know monogamy matters to you, but I am monogamous. This part of my life is my job. They are not real encounters. Besides, what else can I do at this age? I’ve been doing this since I got my real estate license when I got out of high school. This is all I know to do.”

It is interesting to me that I can remember his hands better than his face.

We sat in silence for a long while. Natalie Merchant’s voice was carrying through the coffee shop’s speakers and it was close to closing time.

We began to put on our coats, scarfs and gloves. I remember opting to forgo my ear muffs. It was impossible to not notice that his eyes were filled with tears. Like some lost soul wanting me to tell him that it was all cool and OK with me.

We stepped outside on to Columbus Avenue. There was a light fall of snow and I took the bitter cold air into my lungs. I don’t recall what I actually said to him, but I do know that I essentially told him goodbye and wished him the best of luck. He started to cry. I gave him a hug and he grabbed me and gave me a kiss full of misplaced emotion. As I forced my way out of his kiss and embrace I started to slip on the cobbletone’d sidewalk. He caught me at my lower back.

The last thing I ever said to this sad man was that I really loved my shoes. A few more days and a box of bandaids – and they’d be all set. I think I was wanting him to laugh as I made my exit back to my high rise apartment. But, he didn’t laugh. He gave me a half smile and a wink. I watched him walk down the avenue with his head aimed firmly at the ground in front of him.

Today, as I walked in my old shoes this memory flooded over me. I guess he must be 50 now. I hope he is OK, but I’m so glad I turned away and left New England behind me. I wore these shoes on to the plane that brought me to San Francisco. Funny. When I realized the plane was getting close to California, I removed these shoes and put on a pair of cool comfort shoes. I wore them to a Bauhaus concert a few weeks later when my best pal, Alan, bought us tickets. I think that was the last time I wore these shoes.

As 4pm approaches, they are still comfortable but oddly unsteady. I think I shall take them off. Maybe I will wear them again some day or maybe not. But, I do think I will keep them. They are my shoes. It is my walk through life. Walking in a constant jag’ed line is not always easy but it seems to be my fate’s want.

I continue to plow forward. I can’t give up. Marching forward — old or new shoes. Cheap or expensive. Actually, maybe barefoot is the best way to go. …As long as one is not walking in the Tenderloin or Crack Alley.

April 14, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , . Uncategorized. 4 comments.