San Francisco Weekends

The ocean out the bus window: sparkling and like  blue tarp– crumply and shiny.

You feel safe in the US?” Frenchman asks a German backpacker

“Yes, it’s fine”

“I prefer the Canadians, to be honest.

I’m at a hostel on the bay in San Francisco making dinner with a woman from Stuttgart, Germany.

I love the people of the world.

We talked about Schupfnudeln and both made spaghetti.

I noted how I had too much food– and she was like, “That’s how everything is in this America. Huge portions of everything. You have to buy a gallon of milk! You can’t just buy a liter…! Where you from?”



“I’m American,” I admit.

I don’t think she thought I was American the whole time we were talking. I kept saying how my family was from Germany, and I think she thought I was from there.

Then, after I was finished fixing dinner, I make a nice plate of it for myself, and turn my back to clean up the pans on the stove.

Only to turn back around to be surrounded by four Northeastern European boys with a huge slab of raw meat that has magically appeared right in the middle of the table. Right next to my nice little vegetarian plate of food.

I don’t know how they did it. They had set up the whole table– bread, veggies, and that huge piece of raw meat. I took my plate, pissed off about it all. Raw meat is something that I can’t do.

And then I went and sat outside on the beach in the rain and finished my food in silence. Paranoid about meat germs and people germs.

I need a night to write and be able to laugh at myself a little. Taking everything too seriously this evening.

Later, I went to the cafe in the hostel and got a coffee. Except the minimum was $5. And I’m scrounging around in my backpack for a secret dollar I keep for evenings just like this. But the barista tells me to stop, and run with the coffee. So I do.

And now, after this cup of coffee, I’m off coffee. It doesn’t help my complexion. Alcohol, coffee, bread. Less.

And now I’m in the lobby of the hostel. I really just need to go to bed, but I’m trying to make use of this night alone.

But I really just need to sleep.

And wake up and drink green tea tomorrow.

newspaper blowing away in wind. getting dark. always cloudy in san francisco.

breathtaking drive back over the bay and back to Sacramento. looking back at the city as we go into the fog. can see alcatraz, and where i stayed the past few nights. all the little sailboats. looks like a storm’s coming in. something that i haven’t seen in california all year. sexy spooky city. write and travel. every weekend get away. don’t change plans for  anyone.

bye, golden gate. I ran you. I ran the coast of san fran today. alcatraz is the creepiest thing. just out there all alone, as if in waiting. it’s beautiful out there. reminds me of the time i rode the rhine on a bus in germany by myself. except this time i’m going it planned, not on a anxious whim. thanks for that ticket again, lovely family. xbye san francisco! I have to say I love the coastal part the most! the city is too flashy.  too kitchy. too touristy and drunken sex sold. going through a tunnel now. feel so alive when i’m traveling and riding on a bus, car, going anywhere. feel the same way in planes if i could just let go a little bit. maybe i’m getting there. felt like the golden gate bridge today was practice for flying.

out in the open now. crossed the bridge from san fran. crossing into oakland. it’s like the fog has cleared. haven’t shook that fog in three days, it was kind of becoming my norm. the sun seems cheesy and fake, a mere bridge over from the city.

fifty year old black gay man wearing a suit and tie. strike up a conversation as i sit down– he tells me about the family sitting next to him, the kids just kicking him. “The mother didn’t even do anything!” he made them leave after asking politely. james and i sitting at the train station. his brother went to ksu– when i told him where he was from, he was like, “Kansas State University!” Been to Manhattan a few times. What were the chances. He reminded me of how I imagine James Baldwin.

James (the James I was talking to) went to NYU and got a masters in Anthropology and then a law degree, and does cases for those in poverty, giving them a voice. He was so cool, and was hung up on his ex boyfriend, who he left a year ago today. His boyfriend was telling him to come visit and pick up his stuff, but he was debating setting foot back there again. We talked about control and all. He’s not going back, even for his clothes. He works for a law non profit for low income people in Sacramento! So cool. And then he started talking about the Baltimore Freddy Gray story. And he thinks the root of it is economic inequality, and lack of education on the part of the police officers.


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