Tag Archives: city life

The doorstop.

Coincidence is one of my favorite spices in the seasoning of life. I yearn for the moments when things that never should have happened unfold as if they were planned.

I had one of these simple, mildly enlightening encounters the other day when searching for a heavy object to keep the door from slamming in our tiny San Francisco apartment. After successfully jamming most of our excess crap in a storage unit, I was having a hell of time finding an item that:

1) Would sit flat on the ground
2) Weighed enough to withstand a heavy breeze

And old pair of work boots had already failed me and my next move was TBD. Of course, the only reason the door has to remain open is for the dog to roam free around the apartment and he was anxiously watching my every move.

That’s when I spotted my trusty, battery-powered drill. It had all of the above-named characteristics, and to my surprise, perfectly matched our “burnt orange” big city couch. Problem solved—and color-coordination coincidence noted.


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In bloom.

Grand Lake42nd StreetNorthbeach

The neon flowers of the bay area are alive and well around every corner. I snap pictures like a tourist and occasionally spot a theme among the many. In this case, Bougainvillea that’s so healthy it’s become an architectural element. Just one of the many reasons I’m proud to call this place home.

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Is this thing on?

The gray is starting to appear, and I’m no where near being the man I’d hoped to be at this juncture. Still crammed into small spaces. Still no savings to speak of. Still motivated by small, simple endeavors. 

When I was a kid, my parents seemed like adults and followed a certain orderly process. Cars in the garage. Yard trimmed. Hamburger Helper on the table. 

I never wanted any of that, but I often wonder what it would be like. The comfort zone. The safety zone. The not-too-spicy, fall-asleep-after-the-evening-news zone. 

Something tells me I’m not destined to find out anytime soon. Maybe I’ll look good in gray? 

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Sunshine and M&Ms.




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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You know what I mean.

It seems like the escalators are always broken at the BART stations.

While I’ve always agreed with Mitch Hedberg’s take on the situation, the escalator entrance is usually blocked by a little fence made of yellow plastic. This means a whole lot of people are forced to navigate a very skinny stairway to the sidewalk above.

Like ants, commuters emerge from a small opening underground and spread out in waves of fast-walking, pseudo-professional determination. This mass exodus is perfect target for the spare-change seeking homeless.

Many shake a cup. Others have signs. And sometimes I encounter a guy with a greeting or a piece of advice. Like today.

“Happy Friday, you know what I mean…” he said to each passerby.

“Happy Friday, you know what I mean…”

“Happy Friday, you know what I mean…”

When it was my turn, he paused and we made eye contact.

“Looks like you’re already having a happy Friday…I know you know what I mean,” he said with a hearty laugh.

I took his comment as a compliment and considered giving him a buck or two as I was quickly brushed away by the hustle of the crowd making their ways to wherever.

Happy Friday…you know what I mean.

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The law of gravity.

The number of homeless people in San Francisco is apparent everywhere you go. We live near a highway overpass, so I’ve grown to accept them as our neighbors. I say hello if we make eye contact and smile even if we don’t. They mind their business and I focus on mine. Life goes on. At least until it rains.

Sunday morning it was absolutely pouring. Gutters were overflowing with pools of water and garbage. Woody and I left our cozy confines to run outside for a quick bathroom break. He didn’t want to be out there and neither did I. He squatted and I scanned the area from the middle of the steep hill that leads to our place.

I noticed a guy digging through one of the trash bins a few doors down. Woody zeroed in on him as well as he leaned into one of the cans and lost his balance. This led to an urban avalanche. With the trash, recycling and compost bins all chained together, they all fell at once into a precarious stack. One misstep had toppled three containers, instead of one.

“Motherfuck you people!”

The guy yelled up toward the apartments after inching his way out of the mess.

Standing there in the rain thinking about his life, I felt rotten about 1000 different things all at once. I wondered if there was anything I could do that would make his day better in any way at all. And like any lame civilian, I decided it was best to just leave the situation alone. We inched our way back up the hill and cursed the rain. We took cover in our comfortable home.

An hour later, the the clouds cleared and the sun came out. Woody and I headed back outside for a real walk. On the way down the hill, we passed the triple stack bin situation and I wondered if the homeless guy we’d been watching earlier was perched somewhere nearby watching us.

Triple Stack

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