I have begun bicycling again in San Francisco. I never feel more alive in this city than when I am in motion from it. Zipping by through the Sunset neighborhood (South West SF just under the park for you out of towners) I live for the almost dying several times on my commute dodging the many cars that seem to mindlessly almost kill anyone without there whits several times in just a moment. I have dodged cars to have them almost hit someone else., but that's not what this blog is going to be about.
I want to talk about getting on and off the public transport on the days I am either too sleep deprived or just too lazy to charge through my daily three to seven mile pedal trek through the city. Without really meeting any of them, several people have made an impression this past week.
One man I could of almost liked, for he looked like my father's best man. Very expressive face. Some children made it on the bus and then he made the "V" with his hands to his crotch. I hated him for that. Luckily, San Franciscans can be so oblivious of those around them that I am the only one who saw. On looking at him more, he was obviously schizophrenic. It was just so strange how no one seemed to notice.
Last Monday, San Francisco was hit by a flash flood. I was home by the ocean, leaving under light sprinkles. As always, I'd killed about half my one day off, to run for the rest of it. I took the train. Most of the day had been sunny. At USF (the edge of the park/center of SF)...there is an old phrase about San Francisco, "if you don't like the weather, walk ten feet or wait ten minutes." It was like that. In Cole Valley, I had never seen it like it was. There was a river running down the street. This is a fucking hill. Although "Valley" is in the name, there is no valley. I was going four block down to Haight. After two I was stuck since there was two feet of water deep. I saw a rat swept down the river. I still wish I could have saved it. Walking up river on what was left of the sidewalk I saw a hero.
Here are all these white people skiddish, gauking at the storm. A river is brewing so hard people's safety really is at risk. Honestly, I had never seen anything like it in SF. Cole Valley is one of the Yuppier parts of SF. It's where New Algers go who want to avoid the pan handlers of Haight. Across the street (One block up from Carl/Cole) in three feet of water this short Mexican man is crouched down trying to work off the lid to the sewer for the river to drain into. Two of his friends are helping. No one else is helping. They are all taking pictures with their phones. He got it off and it did help. He bit the bullet, took the shit, and did what needed to get done for what was right. That's a hero.
No where near as high and mighty, but a bit of perspective on SF culture comes from a black teenage boy from Oakland in Union Square. The most probably twinkly ritzy shopper part of town. I think he thought he could do what he could do in Oakland here and get away with it. I I live in the Outer Sunset. We tried to do Crime Watch (various websites relaying the neighborhood crime over time in different areas) for our area and it took almost forty five days to get anything illegal that was anything remotely spicy. Oakland...they have hourly updates.
I finish my class around eleven at night. I don't want to bike the seven miles uphill home so I decide to take the 38 (busiest bus in the US I hear) home. I bike to Powell and Geary to wait at the bus stop. This, probably fifteen year old, black kid is acting like a little gangster. He is trying to is smoke a blunt in probably one of the most high profile areas of SF likes it's cool to do or something. He even tries to high up shake my hand like I'm cool with it and offers me a hit. I'm just waiting for my bus stop. I say, "nah dude, I'm cool." I guess I should have said something more, but I think I'm trained from the endless line of pan handlers on Haight street that telling them what they are doing is the wrong way to do things isn't really going to help. Not that I care about pot. It's silly it's not legal, but it's not yet. As I walk onto the bus, an undercover cop stops him and searches him. I look back, and mean it, "good luck". I'm sure I'll meet more characters as I continue my paces throughout this grand city.
To view more of CMuck's work visit his website - www.tidydeconstruction.com
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