Friday, October 14, 2011

Day Off in the City - 10-13-11

Good times for a change
Just kidding - most times are good for me.
Trying to leave by 7:45am is not so easy; if you do not prepare your gear and bike the night before. Why can't I learn this with all the early rides I take? Breakfast meeting with Chuck at a Marie Calendar that turns out to be eliminated from the books. Plan is to meet up with brother Sal for lunch in Chinatown 12:30. So pancakes is all you need to power thru the city. That and some cash! What is with me? So after breakfast we make a stop at Safeway. Temperature is starting to climb on this Indian summer.

I walk blind sometimes
When you hear stories about Chuck you will notice he is a first responder. If someone is lost and crosses his path he helps with directions. If you have a heavy load he will pick a corner and lift it with you. He stood in the shade with our bikes. When I get back with my money Chuck is checking messages on his phone. As I put my jacket, helmet and gloves on I hear an old woman with her big bag of groceries finishing a conversation with Chuck (read on this is all how long it took) she stands in the middle of the sunny parking lot her friend is standing next to a cab a few feet away - "and my friend?" she asks - Chuck smiles and walks over tells them not to worry pays the cabbie the fare and helps load the bags into the trunk. I am baffled. What happened? Chuck saw his neighbor trying to get to the bus but not fast enough. At first she did not want to bother - would rather wait on the next bus. That is my friend Chuck. By association I get to witness good deeds.

More food
Park in the shade of the Transamerica pyramid. There are security agents walking the perimeter wired with communications coming out of their collars and dressed in dark FBI suits. They might as well have an FBI windbreaker on. But, how scary would that be? Instead they look like business guys on the way to a meeting. But if shit went down they could take off at a sprint with guns out.

On the way to 550 California I can't help noticing the summer dresses on women in a city that is cold about 360 days out of the year. What are the beautiful women bringing in the wheeled suitcases they drag behind them? Are they models with makeup and extra clothes? Sales people with samples, catalogs and order forms? Assassins with modular high powered rifles? All of the above because we all need to wear more hats in these tight economic times.

Sal brings us to a restaurant he frequents and it is similar to the one our parents would take us to as kids. Good times. Good food. Across the street was the theater that our cousins took us to go see our first Bruce Lee film. That's when everybody was kung fu fighting in the 70s.

Apple store
Day before the first shipment of iPhone 4S. Crowded and sweaty. Lots of walking. Red Bull and water in a breeze way by a water fall fountain. Up to the top floor of the renovation in progress Metreon where City View is being finished and available for large events. Loud open spaces and beautiful faces. Some gardener is watering the vertical wall of plants. Art project or experiment?

 Avoiding rush hour traffic
Back on the bikes and across town to the Cliff House. You could get killed out there on the streets of San Francisco. Chuck almost gets taken out by a mindless mini driver. Not the actress. We get to Lands End and hike down the cliffs by the Sutro Bath ruins and onto the beach below the new Cliff House. Lawyers and agents and tourists drinking and dining as the sun sets and container ships push in and out of the Golden Gate.

Thursday is dine out for locals
Beach Chateau for near beer calamari and pork sandwich. We sit next to two guys finishing their happy hour. I go to the rest room to wash off this sweat and grime. When I get back and these guys are leaving one says have a good one to Chuck and he answers ok son. What? Turns out this guy shows Chuck a black and white picture he carries in his wallet of him and his dad when they were both young. Chuck looks just like his dad. I would have played it for profound effect by telling him "I am your father - from the future with good news." Then sell him some insurance.

Summer in the city
Is there any reason to drive or own a car in SF? Sure if you want to jet out of town at any moment and your work needs you to be mobile - but a lot of people live just fine without. Many just rent or subscribe to zipcar. Saving money and avoiding alot of aggravation - waiting and parking and traffic and accidents. The cost of freedom. Ask not what your car can do for you.

1 comment:

Cityguide said...

I'm still thinking about the dad thing. Did I really dream about inventing that time machine?