Exploring San Francisco

I’ve spent most of this first half of my first week in San Francisco getting to know the area.


This was a day of running errands.  MB has been living like a bachelor this past month, which means 1) no organization, and 2) no groceries.  After a morning of writing and blogging, as well as a quick crepe lunch with MB, I headed out to the Container Store, which was very easy to find.  It’s actually not too far from where I live, so afterwards I was able to schlep back with my organizational goodies.

Bed, Bath, & Beyond, on the other hand, was way the fuck in the middle of nowhere.  It was a sketchy walk, as have been many walks around here.  There were plenty of homeless guys, one injured/fucked up one being helped by police, and one weirdo who kinda looked normal with his messenger bag but had his shirt cuffs unbuttoned and flapping, which for some reason made him seem like a freak.  Plus the fact that no matter what speed I walked, he was there right next to me.  Finally, I slowed way down and veered off to the side, looking at him suspiciously.  He smiled and said something or another to me, who knows what, then took off.

There are so many freaks around here.

BB&B is part of a mall that includes Norstrand’s, Pier 1, and Trader Joe’s.  Awesome if you have a car, which I do not.  I loaded up my shopping cart (rice cooker, laundry drying rack, Brita filter, etc.), and the very nice check-out girl said she could call a cab for me.  I waited not too long before the very nice cab driver, a young woman, came by.

We chatted the whole way back.  She told me about SF weather, how in October it’s a bit warmer, their version of summer, and by Thanksgiving the rain and clouds will start rolling in.  She also mentioned the crazy thunder from a few weeks back, and how rare that is.

“The last time we had thunder like that, it was three years ago,” she said.

I remember that thunder.  It was so long and prolonged, MB jumped wide awake out of bed.

“Was it an exploision?” he asked, all dazed.

In addition, she told me about Halloween and how it’s gotten violent in the past few years, and finally ended our ride by informing me about Free First Tuesdays – the first Tuesday of every month, all the museums are free.  Sweet!

At home I was very happy with my purchases, except for one thing: the laundry drying rack.  Somehow I had read the price tag as $3.99 when actually it was $39.99.  How could I make such a mistake?  And how could I justify spending 40 bucks on a freaking laundry drying rack?  MB made fun of me for the rest of the night.


Museum day!  I decided to go to the de Young Museum, as per my dad’s recommendation.  It took a year to get out there, and lemme tell ya, the MUNI sucks.  First off, another sketchy walk to get to the UN Plaza stop (cue vomiting homeless guy).  Then you can’t even buy a MUNI pass with cash on it.  The only pass available is monthly, which you have to buy at another stop altogether.  Otherwise, exact change, no dollars.

I asked this woman selling who knows what for change, and she told me how I could get coins for $1 bills from the BART machine.  Well, why didn’t the MUNI guy tell me that?

Of course at first I got on a train going in the wrong direction.  Luckily I didn’t have to wait too long for the next one going the opposite way.  The ride itself wasn’t too long, and it was easy to find the museum walking from the stop.

I had a nice time at the de Young.  I got the audio tour and saw most of the place, I think.  I may have missed a whole wing, but I can always go back.  I liked the garden outside the cafe:

It was nice to sit out there, but the minute I did, these little girls made a bee line towards me and stayed right near me, yakking very loudly.

I planned on walking back, and actually had no idea how to get to the road I needed.  I sort of wandered around and stumbled upon the Conservatory.  Free too!  It was lovely to walk through and snap lots of pictures of the beautiful flowers.

After going the wrong way for a bit, I found a map and figured out where I was supposed to be.  It was a small miracle when I finally made it out of the park.  The rest of the walk back was quite long, but without incident, except for the rude check-out guy at the grocer’s, who when I said, “Excuse me?” didn’t look up from dialing his phone, and so I said again, “Excuse me?” and he answered, “Yes,” still without looking up, and very unsmilingly, reluctantly gave me a bag with handles as requested.

“Normally it costs 50 cents,” he informed me.  “But I’ll give it to you this time.”

Gee thanks, asshole.


Designated working day.  I spent the morning revising The Ring essay, as well as doing a load of laundry and using my – yes, I have to admit – spiffy new laundry drying rack.  It’s pretty neat because you can expand it, and the top rack locks so that when you lift the whole rack, it doesn’t fall apart, with wet clothes tumbling, like my last one.

After lunch I headed out to a FedEx/Kinko’s to print my essay, then attempted to hang out in Union Square and write some more.  But it was cold and windy so after a little bit, I’d head into a store (Border’s, Macy’s – shoes!) before coming back out again.  By almost 5, I gave up and headed back.

Had a very nice run.  Probably barely four miles, but lots of crazy hills.  At first I thought, This is too easy, but after the first hill, I was sweating.

I got back the same time as another woman in our building.  She was probably my age or younger.  I smiled, thinking either we’d introduce ourselves or she’d just let me in, as is the practice in New York when you encounter someone you might not be familiar with but who at least matches the rest of the population in the building.  She, however, did not smile and basically blocked the door.

“Who are – do you – ?” she stammered.  “I’m the housekeeper of the building, and I’m sorry I don’t recognize you?”

“I just moved in,” I said, then told her the unit number.

Still, she didn’t move, and stuck out her hand – her left hand, which was totally weird because it’s not like her right hand was a hook, she was just holding something.  So I very awkwardly shook her left hand, and we exchanged names, and she still seemed hesitant, and I wanted to say, “Bitch, you’re the housekeeper, not the manager, not the super. Back away.”  Instead I named the owner and assured her that she knew me.

“Okay, awesome,” housekeeper girl said.

What the fuck?  Yes, I totally look suspicious in my running clothes.

Maybe I’m being oversensitive since I’m the new kid on the block, but she and the rude grocery guy totally set me on edge.  I mean, of course in New York you run into rude people all the time, but maybe because there are so many people, you’re more anonymous and cushioned by the crowds.  Here there are fewer people and you’re less anonymous (if one more mofo I don’t know smiles at me, I’m not sure what I’ll do – just kidding [not really]) so when someone’s not nice, it sort of sticks out.

But it hasn’t even been a week.  I’m sure I’ll get used to things soon enough.

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