when i learned that it was 80 degrees and sunny, my agenda for the day was clear: go to the beach!
i had been to ocean beaches once, on a cold and blustery day. today, i exclaimed, would be different. it's hot. it's sunny. it's perfect.
i hopped on the train in the direction of the west coast. a few stops before the beach, a surfer, in full surfer gear (a.k.a. wet suit and board, nothing else) stepped on the train. my plan focused: follow that man.
yeah, so people aren't kidding when they say that there's fog here. i swear, the entire city was gleaming... except for the beach.
but it was relatively warm, and the waves... they called out for me to settle in the sand and enjoy.
so i did. and while i was reading the last few pages of the eggers book, he (the narrator, eggers) mentions that he doesn't understand why people go to OCEAN BEACHES BECAUSE IT'S ALWAYS WRAPPED IN FOG AND TOSSED BY THE WIND. i.e. there are better places to go, dummy.
ahem. soon i finished the book and decided i was much more interested in the sun than the waves. i walked over to the train stop, and waited near some dressed-in-black-multiple-piercings kinda dudes. once in my seat i wondered if no one in sf pays for the train, and if at some point, the rookie sf'er relaxes and stops paying fare. is this a rite of passage? and then i admitted that i'd never stop paying fare, because i really AM a rule abider. minutes after that thought passed through my mind, a large, muscular cop comes bounding through the train, with the aforementioned pierced dudes in tow, belting, "show me your proof of payment!"
and then, as though a conductor were directing an orchestra, on cue, all riders dug into purses, backpacks, and pockets and produced transfers and bus passes. the truth set me free: everyone DOES pay. especially me.
i de-trained in the sunset, and breezed past the cop taking the violators' IDs. not knowing where to go, i wandered the streets and found myself in a bookstore, transfixed by a book display just inside the door. everywhere i looked, i found connections to books of interest, or authors i'd recently heard of, or topics i've been wanting to learn more about. i settled on tracy kidder's Mountains Beyond Mountains, about dr. paul farmer. we saw him yesterday and were completely transfixed by his work and his message. i'm looking forward to learning more.
after leaving the store, i thought i'd find a nice sunny spot to enjoy a coffee and my new purchase. as i honed in on a sweet coffee shop, i noticed a man interrupting a patron sitting outside and not-so-politely inquiring if he could take the ashtray remnants sitting on her table. this guy was mostly harmless, but still, i wondered if there were any place free of crazy people in this city. i kept walking.
turning a corner, i found myself facing golden gate park. now there's a place FULL of crazies, yet a warm spot of grass sounded appealing, so i walked forward. barely inside the park, i saw a sign marking the botanical garden, a place i'd wanted to visit! my smile widened and stuck around for a while.
the grounds were gorgeous, pleasant, and perfect.
what a day!
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
at 7:10 PM