Today I am meeting a friend at a small concert venue, and to kill time I walked down Valencia St in San Francisco. This is what I encountered —
I encountered babies with no shoes. Parents with no cares. French tourists taking pictures of the tall and colorful homes. “Ethnic” shop after “ethnic” shop. I found most of them a little disturbing, including one that had a bunch of animal heads displayed all over the walls. I did not go in there at all. The first two shops I entered were all about leather. Leather is in this fall, I suppose. Pink, green, brown, mustard and caca colored bags that were really cute. But I feel guilty when I buy leather, so I resisted. I walked about one shop smelling their soaps labelled, “Lavendar, Mud, and Sulphur” with a side note “good for your skin.” Where have I been? I thought to myself.
Everyone smelled like fresh lavender and hemp. The restaurant man greeted me, but instantly wanted to know what my deal was because I was only ordering one tapas plate, a side dish and beer. Where am I? I thought to myself. It was right before rush hour after all, so maybe they just wanted to get rid of the weird lady sipping beer, watching the Cubs and Giants game, while simultaneously watching youtube videos of the internets latest and greatest ice bucket challenge: The Foo Fighters. Thanks for bringing back a classic horror film sirs and also, why am I watching this?
And I felt absolutely out of place. In fact, I still feel out of place as I sit here writing about this.
Sitting here in this cafe that has high ceilings and plays this new music that young-ins who are referred to as “hipsters” listen to. I kind of like the music, but I kind of feel guilty for liking it. San Francisco is changing, and I can’t even say I’ve been here long enough to witness it, but you can hear about it wherever you go.
I went into a shopkeepers store and she told me about trade shows and showrooms and I felt like I was 18 again and working for a fashion designer back in LA/Pasadena. She had beautiful small earrings and talked my ear off about no longer considering showrooms as the end and be all of fashion and gifts. Go to etsy.com she said and get to know the artist there, sometimes I get work from there to sell in my shop. Everything is changing around me, and all this time me stuck in my room with a computer and daydreams. Where have I been?
Then a regular walks in as I am putting on one a grey skirts. They strike up a conversation about being in their mid 30s and going back to graduate school and about moving out of Google town. “You don’t work for Google do you?” the regular asks me, and I quickly nod — NO! But Google aside, all I could think was, well I am not that much younger than these two ladies. The regular kept calling her classmates, “kids!” and I wondered how long it would be when I would start saying that to people who are younger than me — and meaning it. Then I wondered, have I even noticed that I’m getting old? I don’t think I have! I don’t think anyone does. How do we get here? Where have I been?
Then the store owner pops out her cell phone and shows us her new tiny house. She bought it made. She’s going to start living in the country because the Mission District is no longer a great support for her business. “Yeah, take your show on the road!” I tell her. She’s got a groovy style going on for her, and I think she’d do well with a traveling shop. But then she started talking about farming and selling food and her trinkets and things she makes all natural. It was about the time when she started talking about making a compost toilet that I realized I have yet to touch upon these complexities myself.
Aside from my goal of writing, from practicing it, from venting and talking about it — what else is there? I mean, even if you do get published, how likely is it that it would support you forever? I read somewhere that the average author (who gets published) has about 10 good years on them —and then they get forgotten or lost in the mist…like guerillas. You just fade out. And I had a mini freak out beside the Jane Austen buttons, there as she talked and talked about retiring early, not worrying about her shop anymore, and moving to Oregon with her new tiny house on wheels. Her dreams, simple and right in her hands. Her cash, her earnings all walking out the door with her. The grey hairs on her head reflecting not just wisdom but adventure and she screamed in her shop– “I inspire myself!” I tell her thank you, take the skirt with me and walk out the door.
Step by step, I find the nearest coffee shop and stumble into one of them feeling stupefied and hot all over. I ask for a bathroom, but then retract and ask for an Americano first, for the beer and the shopkeeper had a toll on me. I was feeling sweaty and estranged from reality. Where have I been?
It seems like Valencia St and San Francisco had a plan for me today. Get your a$$ in gear! I think I am going to look into starting a CD account. This lady needs a plan because readers — you never know. AND now I am here still in this coffee shop, sitting under a speaker that spews out Bob Dylan talking about…
You used to laugh about
Everybody that was hangin’ out
Now you don’t talk so loud
Now you don’t seem so proud
About having to be scrounging for your next meal.
How does it feel (?)
How does it feel (?)
It feels weird Bob.
It feels really f*cking weird.