Day 35 of Project 365: Really got a hold on me.

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Today I visited the main branch of the San Francisco Public Library. I enjoyed a warm welcome from former coworkers and it was wonderful to be back in their company. But after an hour, the tenor of the reunion changed: I became desperately sad, missing it all so much, then overcome with the knowledge that the library and all the lives it contains exist separately from my memories of working there. The two are not the same. It’s easy to pretend they are from a distance.

After descending the magnificent central staircase so that I could snap today’s photo, I crossed the street and ducked into the Civic Center transit station. Two women on the Muni platform were singing “You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me”:

I don’t like you, but I love you
Seems that I’m always thinkin’ of you
Though you treat me badly, I love you madly
You’ve really got a hold on me

Writing from: a nostalgic room in Marin. Listening to: The Bobs’ cover of “You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me”.

Day 30 of Project 365: Waiting for the N.

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“It’s getting real” is a phrase I unabashedly love. I love it because it’s fun to say and because it indicates a transition from unreality. This unreality is exactly what I have been experiencing in the beautiful enclave of Marin County, reinforced by the fact that I am dependent on others to get in and out of it.

It got real tonight when I took the bus over the bridge, then another bus, and ended up at 19th and Judah, waiting for the N. I snapped a pic on the wheelchair ramp and paused to admire the view. A passerby cheerfully reminded me that I was not in the right place to board the N.

True to form, three inbound Ns came in quick succession while I had to wait over twenty minutes for one outbound. When it arrived, it was packed, but I boarded anyway.

I came face to face with the N-Judah Greeter.

Nothing was different. Everything was different. My belly felt warm, like it was full of hot cocoa.

I took the N to my usual stop and walked to our former home. It was too dark to see if it had been painted a different color. The living-room was bathed in television glow, and different plants were crowded into the meager patch of dirt near the front sidewalk.

Without thinking, I walked to where I would meet my former coworkers for dinner. (The body remembers where it once was situated in physical space.) I sat down at a table set for twelve. (A week ago, I was laughing over lamps in an empty flat.) I am alone in a restaurant full of people. (Text messages ping inside my handbag.)

How has it been four years already? How has it only been four years?

Writing from: Zen’s room in this beautiful enclave. Listening to: laptop fans singing to each other.

The F-Market redeemed.

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I rarely take the F-Market because it is so slow and the double-seats have no butt dividers. The former is more important than the latter, of course, but the latter is really important if you have ever had a stranger smelling of grain alcohol be all gropey with the side of his leg. Not that that has ever happened to me before. (All the time, on the F-Market.)

F Market, by Jef Poskanzer

I took the F-Market yesterday because going underground on a day like that was a crime, the kind of crime that unicorns would ticket you for while crying tears of Nutella. It was an astoundingly beautiful San Francisco day. I should have walked. But I took the F-Market instead.

The redeeming quality about the F-Market is that it is usually populated with cheerful tourists. I like to eavesdrop and pretend that I speak their languages. I don’t. But I can fumble my way through German, so that is how I overheard the mother explaining to her little boy not to pull on the cord because that would ring the bell to signal that a stop was requested.

The little tow-headed boy of maybe five looked extremely disappointed in that Teutonic way, which is to say that his right shoulder may have slumped three millimeters. And my crabby old heart melted. Right before my stop, I touched his mother lightly on the elbow and asked her if he would like to ring the bell on my behalf. Lest you think I am some kind of awesome, I did this in English. (I am pretty sure I would still be on that train if I had to come up with “on my behalf” in German.)

She smiled and instructed her son to pull the cord, which he did gleefully, as indicated by one part of one tooth showing when he smiled. I gave him a bright “Dankeschön” as I left. And hell yeah, F-Market, I forgive you. I forgive you anything at all.

1940s-era Coca-Cola billboard in San Francisco’s Bernal Heights to be covered up

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How disappointing. From the article: “The suddenly infamous Bernal Heights Coca-Cola billboard will apparently be covered up with siding in the hope that it can be preserved until a possible historic designation makes it legal to display once more.”

NIMBY vs. Vintage Sign: The Lost History of the Former Tipton’s Grocery Store

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For those of you following the Bernal Heights Coca-Cola sign saga, here is the update from Bernalwood.