July 19-July 26th
A new weekly post on the blog just about the odds and ends and magical thoughts of life as it happens.
Last Sunday started off in Noe Valley on a blazing hot afternoon. This is the sort of place that makes you not miss New York. I’ll start off saying that and work my way into the heart that makes this neighborhood southwest of Market Street so thrilling. And to understand this few blocks of gourmet shopping and dining, know that this was a strange love affair between a person and a place that made life in such an unforgiving city worth it.
You can peep into the life that passes through Hayes Valley once you exit from the 101 towards the Golden Gate Bridge. Some grass, a big steel web of red and blue for the kids to climb about, and palms shading over a green building and above a flushed pink sign where the Miette Patisserie Shop is open for business. I didn’t know this was Hayes Valley then– only a curve in the road that drove me up the University of San Francisco. It teased me with every time we passed on the road and it always seemed to have a glow about it come rain or shine or fog. And now it’s always there for me, the lovely end of the line for the 21 bus that too passed USF. In college this was the perfect spot to just get away and study and become inspired for the crazy stories I would write for my classes; now it’s a tame but youthful neighborhood always bursting with colorful characters and colors in the business and buildings themselves. If you’re seeking a spot to dine in an alley with your best friend to some serious Chili Fries and hefty salads or enjoy a pint of Saint Archer with a tattered copy of Love in the Time of Cholera as across Patricia’s Green ladies line up in a back alley to get fitted at the new Corsetry boutique, then come join me at Hayes.
Fast forward to this Sunday, and I’ve not gone anywhere today– not any further than my kitchen table. That’s another thing. Apartments. If you got one– let alone in this city– cherish it TO THE MAX. It’s not every time you live in a big town and luck on on decent accommodation and with roommates (or none) that you can actually get along with. I feel like I always hear about friends and acquaintances constantly having new people moving into their places of switching out roomies and I just think, shit. The nights where I can come back home to my place and it’s just my sis already sprawled out in front of the space heater in sweatpants watching TV with a glass of wine is just one of the more worse things I put up with when sharing a studio. Most days, like now, she’s not here. It’s almost perfectly like I’ve found a place all to myself, where only God can judge me for blasting ABBA and clean at 11 at night like I’m at a disco from this city’s hey-days.
When I first moved to San Francisco it seemed like the thing to do was be out on the streets all the time, and an apartment was just a warm place to sleep at at night. But the months drag on and I choose now to have days like this where I never want to leave. Just a place you can just have all to yourself and that’s there for you whenever just being out and about the city overwhelms you. For example, this past week I devoted solely to making it a wonderful birthday week for my sister turning 26. In stringing up crepe paper in Frozen-themed blues and delicious photos of her favorite actors up on the wall with lit candles and a surplus of Chardonnay– I realized it didn’t take much to make a celebration feel grand. Forget fancy dinners or bar hopping and blowing $$$ on a karaoke booth somewhere. When it was all finished it hit me how lucky we were just to be living here, to have a place to finally pull something off like this. It may not be the biggest and best and most beautifully decorated apartment in the city but it’s what you make of it– always make something magical of it. That’s where your time here counts– the home really is where the heart is.
So yes to all of this. Yes to being lazy today as opposed to last Sunday, yes to being hungover in part to my sister’s birthday out bowling last night, and yes to not giving any cares about trying to meet up with people. A place like this can make you a flake. But that’s okay, it just depends on the city you’re in where that’s not such a bad thing, because they’ll always be here. In fact, San Francisco is perfectly (or inconveniently) small where you’ll always run into a familiar face. At a population of only 800,000 people, that’s an easy feat.
PLACES YOU RUN INTO FRIENDS, ACQUAINTANCES, AND HOOKUPS:
An Etsy Craft Expo. at the Embarcadero
Polk Street, Harper & Rye
Polk Street on the street
The 1 bus line (the last people you want to see, particularly)
The 21 bus line (for your best friends heading to get their glasses repaired at Warby Parker after breaking them in a benefit walk in Golden Gate Park)
The 31 bus line (strictly USF grads)
Sansome Street heading to work, either direction
Westfield Shopping Mall
So trust me, stay in. The faces will always be there.