Sunshine and M&Ms.

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As life in the Bay Area gets increasingly more expensive and hectic, I try to frequently remind myself how lucky I am to be here. In this case, three random photos taken on a Tuesday made all the difference. Now let’s see what Wednesday brings.

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San Francisco sunset.

The loud talkers mix with sirens, jackhammers and car horns.

Those who don’t have their heads down in the soft glow of cell service, seem to have their heads up their asses. 

It’s an errand here and a rush to get to the next thing there. It’s life as we know it and reality as we never could have expected. So much information flowing, so many opportunities and yet, beneath all the self-importance, we’re still basically human. Still lonely. Still searching for magic we can only vaguely recall from a time we barley remember. 

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Hard stop.

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Growing up as an old car junky, abandoned vehicles left in fields along the Midwestern highway had an irresistible draw. There was unsolved mystery hiding in the broken glass, blank headlights and rusty quarter panels. What sort of heartless bastard gives up on a set of tail fins?

In my endless pursuit of Americana, I’ve found myself trying to recreate history as it never happened with plastic, paint and glue. While a real old car doesn’t have any sensible place in my life at the moment, I decided to build a small version of one that takes me back to those days as kid—racing down the highway in the middle of nowhere watching as forgotten chunks of the American dream wait for the crusher.

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Tipsy.

When I was nineteen I dropped out of school, sold what little stuff I had and moved to California to start an illustrious career as a barista. I was broke, lonely and lost. I was also free. No friends. No family. No obligations—except getting to work at 6 AM each day to open the coffee shop.

I took my job seriously. It was all I really had going on. I liked being there among the other recent California transplants and art students. They were slightly off and so was I. Life was just as it should be at such a young age.

I made minimum wage but I really worked for tips. I was amazed at the simple equation—I was friendly to people and they’d toss money in the jar. There was one regular in particular that would stop in early, order a small coffee to go and leave me a dollar—roughly a 95% tip for handing him a paper cup and telling him to have a good day.

Memories of my life twenty years ago came flooding back this morning when I stopped by a small coffee stand on my way to work. The ladies running the things were welcoming but not over the top. I ordered a simple cup of coffee, paid with cash and without thinking twice tossed a dollar in the tip jar. Smiling as I walked away, I felt good about life, the process of growing up and the fact that I had a dollar to spare for a kid that’s probably broke, lost and lonely.

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