…was my summer in San Francisco.” Thanks for the heads-up, Mark Twain. Any witticisms about the public transit?
Actually, it was in San Francisco where Twain wrote “Jim Smiley and the Jumping Frog,” which, apparently, first catapulted him into stardom. I have my own associations with that story, specific to when I first read it at age 14. More specifically, when I was wearing spaghetti-straps like a boss and taking “hella tight” grammar classes on the Sacramento State campus in the summer.
Yes, I did use this bad boy to get me into R-rated movies in Davis.
Anyway, enough about how amazing I was and how much of life I had figured out at 14.
What I was trying to transition to was that no number of literary jabs could keep me from loving San Francisco any less than I did when I was a teenager. I probably was as obsessed with San Francisco as much as I was with myself. She was my city upon a hill. The Golden Gate through which I saw the end to my graceless adolescence. She was beautiful, and I loved her, all of her. Her Twin Peaks, her Coit Tower, her North Beach. To me, San Francisco never left the 60s. She kept Howl in her back pocket, didn’t care what her parents said, and was BFF’s with Joni Mitchell and Hunter S. Thompson. She taught me about dim sum, Jack Kerouac, public transit, and thrift shopping for dirty shoes and tight pants. She took me to Stern Grove for the first time, bought me an Assata Shakur t-shirt, and told me she liked my poetry. She didn’t care that I was some sad, Vitamin D-deficient girl from the suburbs who just discovered Conor Oberst and therapy. She was love and love was Haight.
In many ways, San Francisco really was my first love. And, as my first boyfriend at age 14 once dramatically said after I roller-bladed (wrist guards, no helmet) to meet him on the North Davis greenbelt; “You never forget your first love.”
Wait. Was he breaking up with me?
I guess it’s just you and me again, SF.