Things I learned.


Overhead wisdom.

Walking out of my building on a small alley street in the North end of La Mission I found two tanned and grizzled men outside my door. One was standing upright. One was leaning as far to the right as one can lean before one falls. Both had relatively groomed Mission style beards, bottles in brown paper bags and multiple layers of what may have once been khaki colored clothing as well as some red flannel. Probably in their later 40s, but that was hard to tell. Judging from the shopping cart parked near by I am going to hazard a guess that they were homeless. From the orderliness of their cart and the confidence of their chatter I would also guess they were good at being homeless; and had made some choices along the way that brought them to where they were that they were not going to abandon anytime soon. Both in the long run, and the short. They had chosen to be be stink breath and ass drunk outside my door on a it-is-so-hot-I-can’t-believe-it-is-July-in-SF day – and that choice wasn’t changing anytime soon. In the long run…

Vertical: (standing in the sun) “Shade is better to rest on a hot day. Specilly when your drunk. Don’t loose some much water.”
Sideways: “Right here.” (lies down under the tree) “I have lost 6 pounds.”
Vertical: “How do you know?”
Sideways: “When I went to the hospital I weighed 153. When I left the place I weighed 147.”
They both laugh and laugh and laugh. They see me,
Both: “That’s a nice green bike, honey.”
The end.


Walking down Valencia in front of two guys I learned some serial dating tips. This was a gay boy conversation, but I think perhaps the rules apply to dating between all gender types.

1. Go on at least 2 dates a week.
2. Utilize all the dating sites possible, even though they all suck.
3. Meet all the people all your friends try to set you up with and then some.
4. If you make it to a 4th date with one of boys (or girls) make it exclusive with that person. If on the 5th or 6th date or further on down the road that is not working out go back to steps 1-3.
5. Until the 4th date happens with someone you can easily be on a first date with one person, a third with another and a second with a yet another etc….all in one week.
6. Note cards (or something) with a few details about the people and including last names in your phone are good ideas, because sometimes people have the same first name.

These things worked for guy 1 who has now found The One, and is arms waving lips pursing happy. Guy two is still in phase one.


Walking up 18th street I saw a girl in her late teens in tight blue sweatpants and long blonde pony tail surrounded by a group of awkward teenage boys in baseball hats outside a cafe. Looked like a school field trip. The rest of the class, mostly girls were seated nearby. She smiled at them stood up tall stretched her arms out to push them into a wider circle and quickly with silent and strong grace nearly kicked one of them with a ballet kick. With her leg still lifted up standing calmly on the toes of her other foot she says, “Ballet can be deadly.”


On 24th street I learned that ducks dressed in tu-tus still need to listen when they are spoken to, even if their friends (the frog in rain boots and the princess) run off down the street. And, also that even witches with pointy hats need to have lunch before they can get ice cream.


I love life in La Mission.


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Iron Man, Onions and a fish.

Yesterday I saw Iron Man on Valencia. He was Middle Aged at least, wearing many layers and pushing a shopping cart. The mask covered most of his face, but his full beard drenched in sweat was showing. He looked rather sluggish. Not the cocky superhero he once was.

I bit further on in front of the new playground near 19th street the kids in bathing suits ran in the water while their parents sat by in scarves and coats, at the end of the fence a few of the residents of the previous incarnation of the park sipped from unconcealed bottles of vodka watching the fun.

Almost home I passed a man and woman enganged in some good old flirting. While he was ackwardly talking animatedly about something she was listening intently with a large grin with body language shouting I like this, but I don’t want to tell you that….holding two really large onions to her chest.

Then I got home and saw an Urban fish swimming in the concrete sea.

So, I wonder. Drigress. And wonder.

I should be folding the laundry and also doing my own bookkeeping. Instead, I wonder.

So, I wonder. If finished up my lunch of Chia Seeds in Goat Milk Yogurt with some homemade hand picked berry compote with a slice of my $10 stick of salami and a sip of Kombucha does that unequivocally make me from California? Does the need for salami and pepperoni announce that I am from New Jersey? While I am at it does my love of clams betray the fact the I was born in Connecticut? I did own a Bermuda bag once; with whales on it.

I wonder.  I wandered out of the Mission today. In Noe Valley it was still sunny up in the hills, but there was less poop on the streets. I saw sliced into sidewalk there truth inside a heart, and it made me wonder; if truth lives in our hearts why do they ache? Is it because, like they say our brains aren’t always in cahoots with our hearts and lead us to believe we can be defined by other people’s perceptions, by how others value us. As I dropped my a few years left to go before he is a teenager son off at camp and watched him fix his new haircut’s gelled front and slip into the LaMission accent to unequivocally announce his cred…(which hopefully he does not feel is betrayed by his translucent skin and apricot hair) my heart ached. But, remember Mama, you can’t take away his learning and yearning. Walk on. Believe in him. Oh, sorry that was a digression. But, well there. Here.

As I was headed back to La Mission I was listening to Billy Joel. It just happened, shuffle…then I enabled the Billy Joel to keep flowing. So while I was on my way down 23rd Street I ran into Severn Alley. The letters shuffled themselves around so many times I had to take a picture of it so I could figure out how to pronounce it later. I was reminded of a sign my Mom and I laugh at. As you go from New Jersey to Pennsyvania on Route 80 there comes along the way the town of Scotrun and it is hard to see that billboard and not wonder how people deal with living in a town called Scrotum. It also reminded me I share with my Mom (who’s birthday it is today) the inability to pronounce words and an ability to find most things funny. Thanks Mom.

The Truth in a Heart etched in the sidewalk, Severn Alley (Severn, I later learned has to do with rivers and  boundaries), Scotrun (which makes my mom laugh) and Billy Joel singing Just The Way You Are in the hills of Noe Valley brought me back to a memory. Eight or so years ago going down a different hill in Noe Valley on a warm evening with my baby and walking behind my then husband I realized my marriage really sucked.  There was no life in there for us. My husband didn’t love me just the way I was, he wasn’t ever going to sing that song to me.  And, that was a deathtrap for both of us. Today tears fell in sadness for us, but it didn’t hurt. I hadn’t cried over us in a long time. We’ve made it finally back to learning to be friends of some kind. To care.


Thank you Severn Alley. Boundary between La Mission and Noe for also having the humor to spell nerves. Since when I got back into the Mission my nerves were rattled by the noise and I was run into by zig zaggy people walking askew on the sidewalks. I wonder why when the sun shines in the Mission do so many people get drunk and walk messy?

I went back to Noe Valley to pick up my son. His hair was a mess and he was all dirty, like the kid he still is.  I learned that his section in camp voted between three names. 1. The Extremes, 2. The Unthinkables 3. The Fresh Swaggers. ‘The Fresh Swaggers’ was eliminated “because, whist we are fresh, none of  us walks with a swagger that doesn’t make them look like a guerrilla or an old man.  And, The UnThinkables, was my choice because we are so imaginative nobody can think like us.” The Extremes won by consensus after tying with the Unthinkables. Unthinkables!

On the way home we took the straight line through the hipsters and loungers in Dolores Park and got a salted caramel soft serve at Bi-Rite (there was no line) then went to Tartine (there was no line) and emptied my wallet to buy a half a loaf of warm country bread. Once out the door on sunny Guerrero I ripped off small bits of still warm bread for us. My son immediately dipped it in the ice cream and said: “two great things that go great together.” Truth, that was what I was gonna do with mine. I love that guy. He is so my son. And so from The Mission.


Dontcha monkee round too much in the mission sun, son.

Boys, I saw you today…and I’ma gonna guess your tale.

Mayhaps it goes like this:

When the wind doesn’t blow and the sun shows its face strong and bright La Mission gets hot. You run out for a mega dose of Vitamin D  (without your hoodie.)  You stand in a crazy line for ice cream and get lost in the small space of bi-rite spending $10 on a sausage and $9 on a bottle of wine. You meet a guy that looks like this: A harmless sort of clown with some drinks to share amidst the brick-brac of garage sales, sidewalk peddlers and Dolores Park. The sunshine makes you easy like a Sunday morning all day.


Next thing you know you were Guy 1 hugging Guy 2 and saying :”uh uh ga duh mah bah blab blah drunken muble bluh” and Guy 2 slaping Guy 1 on back and upping it to a “bear hug” and saying, “uh uh ga duh mah bah blab blah drunken muble bluh penis head drink beer.”

I am only guessing this came on next when you stumbled into the girl you were bringing that sausage and wine to:

Then this:


take care when drinking in the sunshine day boys.








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