It is easy, when you’re eccentric, to pass for a local. “Are you going to a costume party?” said everyone ever. My no didn’t faze them; I was hardly the weirdest thing they’d seen that day. That hour, even.
Streetcars are Darwinism in action. No seatbelts, no handholds. You’re front and center in the daily proto-hurricane, and if you slide off the metal seat, then good luck to you. When you reach your stop, you dart, frogger-style, across two rows of traffic. Crosswalks are a special kind of pathetic. You want your genes to propagate, don’t you?
Locals, apparently, really love Lucy. They will chortle their appreciation at you across alleys and between Caltrain stops. You will feign annoyance but squeal on the inside.
San Francisco is a study both in vistas and in cloisters. The city is pruned and piled, neighbor over neighbor and skyscraper over subway. But it collides with fierce wildness in all directions. Ocean roaring hand in hand with hills. To a lifelong San Franciscan, I imagine it would feel like living in an ant farm. To a four-day tourist, it felt like joy.
Dress & scarf: made by me
Shoes: Famous Footwear
San Franciscans are the friendliest lot I think I’ve ever met. Full of compliments and cheer. When I thought I was going to miss the bus, a man onboard told the driver I was his sister and made him pull over and wait. A bookseller let me read a map without buying it; a cabbie, when he heard I was from Vermont, asked me how my pet moose was doing. At coffee stands you can linger over fixings without being stabbed by some asshole in a hurry. East Coasters know the trauma.
The Larkspur Ferry Terminal is but a stone’s throw from San Quentin State Prison. It’s odd, enduring a quotidian commute just a fence away from death row’s finest. A real uncanny valley vibe. I’ve been interested in crime as long as I can remember. Next time I’m here, I’ll make a point to visit Alcatraz.
I see how a person might leave their heart here.