Tuesday, November 17, 2015

A Day in the Life

Monday, 11/16/2015 (A post not about grief!)
View from the UCSF Fitness Center
Coffee in the early morning – fixed the night before, so ready to go from refrigerator – home-made café sua da. Then rustic sourdough with almond butter and an apple for breakfast – apple from the Courtney’s Market up the hill, on the corner at 14th and Castro.
Caught the N Judah train for a 10 minute ride to the fitness center in UCSF Parnassus campus https://www.ucsf.edu/. I spent 25 minutes on an elliptical machine watching the hawks soar over Golden Gate Park and Golden Gate Bridge in the distance and the University of San Francisco’s white rococo spires off to the right (not in photo above). And I did resistance things for almost 10 minutes. Two guys talking in the locker room: “The secret to a long life is to marry well.” This place is overrun with scientists, doctors, and the like. I’m thinking these two are probably geneticists. I’m thinking they’re right, too.
UCSF hallway - flashback to countless
halls just like this one over the years 
N Judah back the apartment. Shower. Look at news.
or terrified or anything along those lines. I am more determined, hardened by the awful carnage in Paris. Paris, Beirut, Mumbai, London, Madrid, Jerusalem, Bali, New York…
Walked to the 22 Fillmore outbound stop at Duboce and Church. Rode 22 to the Mission (16th at Valencia) where David’s SF office is. I got there early, so walked to 18th to Tartine Bakery (popular enough that there is no sign), but there was a long line, so moved on. I stopped in at Faye’s Video, a nice, hippie-ish coffee house/video rental place. The coffee smelled really good, maybe at a Blue Bottle level. We’ll just have to find out how good it is. At the corner of the next block, the city smells were well-scented with cannabis. Half a block from the police station – no problem.
In the Mission. I thought of Sisyphus
It brings me pleasure to think about and name – not to mention, ride – all these MUNI routes and street names.
David and I had a nice lunch at the Little Chihuahua on Valencia in the Mission, relaxed, passing the time – a huge blessing to have these lunches so often with my son. I told David about my realization that within this mourning a series of happy thoughts is followed by unhappy thoughts, like I’ll be thinking for awhile (hours or days) about Leslie and traveling or working together and be happy that it ever happened and then the sadness that it won’t happen again… The trick, I said, is somehow to not cycle into the sadness. He was somewhat amused – you mean be happy all the time? Hmmm, well, that would be a good trick, wouldn’t it. 
Took the 22 back to Church and Market, where a woman in a motorized wheelchair was having trouble getting on the bus because the ramp was blocked by a trash receptacle. The driver wouldn’t move the bus. So I got off to see if I could help her, but couldn’t get her and the WC onto the ramp – another guy joined in and we still couldn’t do it. I kept saying to the driver, “Just move forward a little and she’ll be able to get on,” but the driver still wouldn’t move the bus 3 feet either way to accommodate her. “To hell with it,” she says and motors off to another bus stop. I say to the driver, “You really were just fucking with her, weren’t you,” and I left as well. Ha, he is the proud recipient of my first phone-in complaint to a government agency in my life. Asshole.
La Boulange - happy days
Went home for a few minutes, then caught the N Judah to Cole Street, where I’m sitting, writing, in front of La Boulange. Cole and Carl, where Leslie and I passed many happy hours. I was thinking I would walk to the Haight, but on a whim, jumped back on the N to 9th and Irving (where there are four coffee shops in one block – it’s that kind of a block).
I stopped in at a women’s clothing store called Ambiance to hopefully find the young woman, who, a month ago, when I was at the corner with someone throwing up (chemotherapy) into the gutter, ran across the street to bring two bottles of water. And there she was – the same young woman. She said, “Yes, I remember that.” I said, “We all remember. It was the sweetest thing” (especially in San Francisco where one sees all sorts of body functions, parts, eliminations, etc.). 
Jug band at corner Castro and Market
I forgot that Arizmendi Bakery (my destination) is closed on Mondays, so back on N to Duboce and walk to the Castro. There is a traveling kids/hippie jug band playing at the corner of Castro and Market and a guy comes by and drops some cookies into the open guitar case. Lot of cannabis being smoked on this corner – jug band, dogs, packs, guitars, crystals strewn around. Rainbow Gathering people.
Walked back to my apartment where I ran into Sean, one of my neighbors, who says kind of out of nowhere, “Do you have any idea how lucky you are” (to be living on this street in these days). “Yes, I think about that a lot.” Walked to Whole Foods for dinner, where I shared a table with a wonderfully interactive baby and mother. Good times.
Back home, thinking that today I was in Duboce Triangle, the Mission, Upper Market, the Castro, Cole Valley, and Inner Sunset. Thinking how fortunate I am.
Copied this from a web site: Charles Baudelaire developed a derived meaning of flâneur—that of “a person who walks the city in order to experience it.” 
Duboce Park Cafe - two blocks from home
There was nothing in the world
That I ever wanted more
Than to feel you deep in my heart
There was nothing in the world
That I ever wanted more
Than to never feel the breaking apart
(Pictures of You)


Alison Starr said...

When Walter Benjamin brought Baudelaire’s conception of the flâneur into the academy, he marked the idea as an essential part of our ideas of modernism and urbanism. For Benjamin, in his critical examinations of Baudelaire’s work, the flâneur heralded an incisive analysis of modernity, perhaps because of his connotations: “[the flâneur] was a figure of the modern artist-poet, a figure keenly aware of the bustle of modern life, an amateur detective and investigator of the city, but also a sign of the alienation of the city and of capitalism,” as a 2004 article in the American Historical Review put it. Since Benjamin, the academic establishment has used the flâneur as a vehicle for the examination of the conditions of modernity—urban life, alienation, class tensions, and the like.
(ode to the flaneur)

CK said...

Wow, Alison - good stuff! It's all of the above.

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