Tag Archives: San Francisco

Clean sheets.

The night is beautiful.

The dog is curled into a ball and cozy. Traffic is calm and the 39 bus is empty as usual. I washed the sheets today and there’s a lovely lady in my nightly nest. I see there’s fog rolling in over the Golden Gate and I consider the possibility that this is all like a movie I saw once.

A movie I probably cursed and called far-fetched. Now the credits roll and I sink into my San Francisco sleep.

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(Another) new beginning.

A few weeks back I started a new job that’s shrouded in confidentiality agreements and requires a badge to come and go. While there’s some middle-aged appeal to taking on secret-agent status, most of my recent daily adventures are not exactly mine to share.

All proprietary details aside, I will say that there’s nothing like onboarding at a new gig to stir things up. The beauty of being the new guy means there’s no routine to abide by—you’re free reevaluate and reestablish how you do your thing. What exactly does it take to be a good employee? What, if anything, should I be doing for my community as a result of making a living wage? Is there some magical equation that can solve the work-life balance conundrum?

The only problem is that I’m short on revelations and epiphanies. So far, the only conclusion I’ve come up with is to worry less. Somewhere between my ever-growing resume and the endless quest for the perfect place to live, I guess I’ve come to terms with the fact that adulthood is a wonderful mess of unpredictable occurrences, coincidence and a responsibility to to those around you to simply be cool. I’m going to give that a try today and see how it goes. You know that old saying? Once the badge is scanned, anything can happen? Here goes.

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Santas in the night.

There’s nothing like spending the holidays in a neighborhood that’s festive year round. Here in San Francisco’s North Beach, multi-colored lights permanently hang above Grant Avenue, the bars and restaurants are usually packed with cheerful patrons and frequently big groups of people go door to door singing—at least until they get home. While it’s not great for good night’s sleep, most days feel like some kind of special occasion.

The other day, however, I encountered a new level of coincidental holiday crossover when I found a gift on the doorstep. Technically the gold bag with its carefully arranged tissue paper was tossed on the sidewalk, but the decorative effort wasn’t wasted on me. I picked it up and nervously looked inside to discover an undamaged glass tray with an artful gold type that simply read CHEERS. Momentarily, I considered my options and decided the tray was coming home with me to be re-gifted just as soon as I could deliver it to my lovely lady on the third floor.

Secret Santa? Drunk elf? Perhaps a small token of appreciation from the universe for enduring the yelping of drunks night after night? While I’ll never know for sure where this sidewalk surprise came from, I’ll always remember the joy of finding this accidental gift.

With that, I say cheers to you and yours. And Merry Christmas. And happy holidays. If you can, take a moment to take in the world around you and watch your step—you never know what treasures might be waiting underfoot.

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Life is but a dream.

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Our San Francisco apartment is so small a quick shower fogs up all the windows—including the one with a slight view of the Golden Gate Bridge at sunrise. The “cotton candy sky” (as we’ve started calling it) through the accidental steam filter caught my eye this morning and I thought I’d share.

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Farewell Friday.

Looking out over the city, I see that Sylvia’s Bakery didn’t make it. It was just open for business the other day.  No surprise, I suppose. There’s only so long you can cover the rent in San Francisco with $5 scones. I hope Sylvia had a plan B.

My buddy’s dad also passed. He was just playing golf a few months ago. I never had a chance to meet him, but from what I hear he was old and wise so I suspect we would’ve gotten along. I hope the friends and family have a chance to celebrate his legacy.

This world twists and turns—so many things come and go each day—but ultimately one has to remember to appreciate the fact that we’re even here at all.

I know. A bit cheesy. But I’ll give it a try if you do. While you’re at it, maybe send a Christmas card or two? You’ll like the way it feels to sign, seal and deliver a thank you message to the people who put up with you all year. Take my word for it.

Speaking of doing the right thing, it’s Friday again. You’d better make it a good one.

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The prime real estate formerly known as Sylvia’s.

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Internal communications.

As Gen X, Gen Y and whatever they call the people who came after that continue to live and work in cities, it seems many of us own less and less. Clothes can easily be rented. You don’t need to buy a car to have a vehicle at your disposal. And most of us, especially in the Bay Area, have no realistic hope of home ownership. While all this offers a certain degree of freedom, it has also led to a world where few seem to take any pride in anything because it’s all temporarily on loan.

This don’t-give-a-shit attitude is alive and well in the charming, but incredibly overpriced and crowded neighborhood where we dwell. And while communicating directly with people is one way to solve problems, I’ve come up with a more passive aggressive, potentially less awkward way to work things out—Bad Neighbor Greetings. Like Hallmark, but dedicated to acknowledging irritation, anger and inconvenience, these cards could be slipped under doors, left on welcome mats or attached to bulletin boards in public areas.

Here are a few messages to get things started:

COVER:
My the weed you smoke all day is skunky.
INSIDE:
Please open a window every so often.

COVER:
It’s called house music, not tiny apartment music.
INSIDE:
Please mind the volume after midnight.

COVER:
Heated debates are good for stimulating the brain…but fighting with your boyfriend every night doesn’t seem to be making either one of you any smarter.
INSIDE:
Please consider others nearby when arguing with your significant other.

COVER:
Sitting on the stoop with your dogs is cute—until they start using it as a bathroom.
INSIDE:
Please take your pets away from the building when they need to poop and pee.

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Reality Check: Black Friday Edition

Friends, I’m at the crossroads of adulthood and San Francisco. The apartment is far too small, but the neighborhood is conveniently located near all my bad habits and the office. I blend in nicely with all the other half-bearded twerps that came to this city for tech—telling myself all the while that somehow I’m different. I constantly reassure myself that I’m a nice guy while having reoccurring, mildly mean thoughts. I don’t deserve half of what I have, but you can be damn sure I’ll keep shopping for more.

This personal lament isn’t meant to come across as some jerk feeling sorry for himself. Instead, it’s just a short dissertation on feeling a million different things at once as I watch frenzied “Black Friday” shoppers momentarily glance at a homeless guy sleeping in the doorway across the street.

It’s not meant to be sad. It’s simply a reality check.

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