Tuesday, May 30, 2006

San Francisco Weekend

I spent Memorial Day weekend in San Francisco. Some random thoughts:

- I found last minute cheap tickets with ATA. I learned why they were so cheap early on, when the same two women checked our bags and staffed the gate. They were also our flight attendants. I never saw any other employees - just these two and the pilot. It took two hours to check in, and I was exhausted by the time I sat down in my seat. It's a good thing I was raised right - at the end I was just an empty vessel full of yes ma`ams and thank you ma`ams and of course I'll give up my seat so the family with the crying baby can sit together I just want to sleep it's no problem ma`am. Inside I was feeling like a cornered bitch, but I guess it didn't show because they slipped me into first class for the flight.

- I ended up getting a hotel when Ahmed had an unexpected housing crisis. Most everyone else I know had left town for the weekend. This seems to be the pattern for San Francisco - I make plans to visit, and then everyone else makes plans to leave town. It's been like this since the beginning, 15 years ago.

- I found a room at the infamous Beck's Motor Lodge. At one point it had a wild reputation. There's a new management, and those days are over. Not everyone got the memo that the party was over - there were a few older men left behind hiding in the bushes, a few peeping toms who kept me jumping at every noise, and one strange guy looking like the ghost of Jerry Garcia who would piss out his window and onto the walkway. I wouldn't recommend this place to anyone.

- I mostly relaxed, and took in the City. I spent a lot of time hanging with Ahmed while he apartment hunted. And I wasn't sure if SF had changed, or if I had. At one point it was my Mecca, and I fantasized about moving back there one day. I thought it was one of the centers of world culture. This round it felt provincial. I saw a city that prided itself on its uniqueness and individuality - and where everyone looked the same. They were all individuals, and all in exactly the same way.

- But every time I get too cynical about San Francisco it will up and do something totally cool. This round it was a simulcast of the San Francisco Opera opening of Madama Butterfly. Joseph called and invited me down, and I figured I'd give it a shot. They set up a big screen in the Civic Center, decorated the park with Japanese lanterns, hung some huge speakers from cranes, and treated the city to a free night of opera. The last opera I saw was Eugene Onegin at Hawai`i Opera Theater. The reviews called it a "stellar production." Since I slept through most of it I figured that maybe opera wasn't for me.

But this was beautiful, and Patricia Racette blew me away. It was my first time seeing a major performer, and for the first time, I get it. Next time, maybe I'll even get a seat inside the theater.

- Rest of the weekend was mellow. I went to a party with Ahmed and his boy of the month, met Daniel for a drink at the Edge, wandered down Castro but never went inside a bar, and spent the last afternoon sunning at Dolores Park with the guys.

- Now I've got to days to jam at work, unpack, repack, and then it's off to Florida for some true decadence.

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