San Francisco

My friend on Union Street is a man named Dave. I have mentioned him before, both in this blog and in conversation, because his life nudges mine.
Today he accompanied me to my bus stop, which was a sweet and gentlemanly gesture, though I think his motivation was more because he did not want our conversation to end. He had just had his cast removed, and he wanted to update me on his leg's progress.

Today I found myself sitting in the lobby of the Tom Waddell Free Clinic down on Lechwalesa Street near the Civic Center. Lobby spurs visions of comfy couches, a small table strewn with People magazines, and a small, but colorful fish tank. In real life, that is what most lobbies look like, so maybe I should have used the words “waiting room”, but even that gives off an inaccurate impression of my surroundings. Even a waiting room is generally more inviting than the cell I stewed in for 2 hours.
Yep, 2 hours.

Last Saturday night I went with a crew of friends to see Bajofondo perform at Bimbo's. They rocked the house and my world. We saw them perform for the first time last summer at Stern Grove, and then again in spring at Bimbo's. You can't help but move your body and your head to the rhythms and the beats and if you bump into the person next to you, a stranger or a friend, even better.

Last week I volunteered at a local nonprofit called New Door Ventures. New Door Ventures provides job-training, employment, and one-on-one support to youth with histories of homelessness, substance abuse, and extreme poverty. In short, NDV gives youth a second chance, and a helping hand in the somewhat formidable job market. My part was simple. I showed up with my Mary Poppins bag of goods and got to work, cutting and styling the hair of the kids involved in the program.

Just outside the city is another world. Yesterday I felt a little bit like Alice except that instead of falling down a rabbit hole (Are rabbit holes ever that big, I wonder?) I found myself climbing strategically placed logs and rocks up a steep mountainside. Though she never complained, I am sure my hiking companion was sick and tired of hearing me rant about the wonder of it all. For some reason, I forget that mere miles outside of our urban lot exists forests and lakes and gigantic trees. GIGANTIC trees.

I was walking along Union Street last week when I passed a homeless man begging for change. You have probably seen him around, too, if you ever walk along Union. He is one of the few homeless in the area, and in the summer, his skin blisters into a mauvey-black. He is tall, lanky, and has a dreaded afro. I mean that his afro is mixed with dreads, and not that he has a hairstyle that I fear. One eye looks at you and one eye looks just behind you; I presume he was born this way. He does not appear to be crazy, nor does he appear to be dangerous in any way.