the second san frisky excursion 8.26.02
in every man's life, he must be a tourist. lost. semi-adventurous. a slow-walking jackass.
this is my tourist day in tiny font and coded onto a webpage.
woke up early and i took a look at my laundry. it was hot and steaming, still, just begging to be folded into temporary thirds until i can next put 'em on. and it was early, the day full of possibilities and energy. out side was warm (for once) and the sky was clear.
i asked for a map and mr clute handed me the lonely planet guide. thank you, mr clute, that was the single most handy thing i have read, maybe even on this trip. i was in awe. lots of stuff, lots of commentary. i couldn't digest it all.
i mixed it with the quick info give to me by kid a from the old employer a/k/a the grizzly taskmaster. i put it into my supercomputer, which, like in the '60's, takes up a whole room-- but i call this one "the shower"-- and i came out with this--
"the palace of fine arts." close to the upscale area where i was promised good looking people-- what didn't you know i was a vapid houndog leering for a peek of female finery?-- and also the palace was very pretty in photos. also, i thought i might find postcards there. i could take a cable car to a nearby location, which is also proximate to the pier 39 where the sea lions play. for no good reason. the shower never gives me the wrong answer.
packed my shit up. asked directions to the bay area rapid transit, or BART. i looked like a nimrod alien who was new to the planet as i slowly picked up that i buy the ticket from the machine not the clerk, and i stick in the side not the top, and i take it back and then repeat when leaving to be charged. the repeat when leaving... well, i looked like a human in planet of the apes there too.
the leaving took place 20 minutes later at powell street. i wandered, trying to look like i knew what i was doing. in a tourist area. how obnoxious am i? then i found my way. after whipping out the lonely planet on the street. man, i would have robbed me right there if i was in new york. i found the cable car line. two bucks. and an hour wait? almost said fuck it, but a man from modesto, bringing his grandkids to the city, even though he hates it (prefers the open space of mid-california cowtowns and probably the conservative politics that go with it-- go him).
line moved fast. took the cable car upwards. and upwards. and upwards. this shit is ridiculous. people walk this? cars can drive this? yikes. and down hills. a little freaky. and up hills. and down to fisherman's wharf. cute place. nautical stuff. was fun to look at. an old boat house, sparse and dark; shipbuilding and knot tying information on palacards, ships to visit at the end of the pier.
walked onwards, towards the golden gate bridge in the far and hazy distance. photographed alcatraz in the distance from a couple of angles. up into a hill and back down, next a fort (mason? like anthony?!) over to some flat land. by a marina. walked and walked and walked and walked and never wanted a bike more in my life. open stretches that seem to take forever to cover, like oases in deserts or like you when your parents busted in on you bustin' a nut.
finally, i checked lonely planet to see how many more of these pretty but pretty useless streets would i have to cover. and there i was. one left. and there it was. the palace of fine arts, more beautiful than i could have imaged it; hearkening to classical greek architecture with more than a nod to japanese pond/ parks-- i forget if they have a name. yes, i'm an ignorant new yorker. pigeons flew in circular low patterns over me on a sunny grassy plot; i watched the geese and ducks relaxing amidst the people tossing bread in their faces, the palace casting shadows over their 2 pm sun.
left the palace and the nearby exploratorium; walked onto a stret which i figued had to have shops, since the lonely planet said so. and there was every yuppie shop from 5th-madison avenues. i stifled the urge to go into the banana republic... or to ask if there was a nearby benneton so i could touch a very pale white person... but i did stop in ben & jerry's. and walked some more.
and i saw fisherman's wharf again.
and more walking.
yes there is a theme.
i am walking.
i am walking past you right now.
please wipe that dollop of sauce from below your lip.
i continue walking by your window.
and there i am, pier 39. the sea lions smell like sea water and shit rolled in grease and baked lightly in alfredo sauce. tourists are everywhere. i can't avoid them. they're fat and they walk slow and they're in my way.
the walking has made me tired.
i stop in the in & out burger.
it was too big for me going in so i threw 1/8th of it out. there were very attractive women there for me to leer at, though. hotness. i had a short conversation with one of them, nothing of note. there is a man on a walk who has two pieces of shrubbery masking his presence, and shaking on when passerby come too close, for the amusement of anyone on the other side of the street and privy to the joke. very reality TV of him. some man actually has a crowd in fornt of his 3-card monty game.
back home, i think to myself.
but the cable car line is longer than the one i took over to the wharf. and it's moving s-l-o-w-l-y. it's about 5pm and the sun is still high. a street musician is calmly playing tunes and then gives way to an older man with shorter hair and a more calming voice. he also plays puff the magic dragon. some tourist, perhaps german, or belgian, keeps violating my personal space. he has a large belly. i know this because he keeps walking it into my arm or my back or my outstretched conveniently elbow. his wife is also a little close. but i can feel the rounded curve of his yellow breasted gut.
the cable car is what it was on the way up-- crowded and scary. yikes.
the BART is slow but i listen to music.
berkeley is quiet and not so berzerk.
the walk is long yet uneventful.
the evening will be the same and pleasantly so.
this typing is creating aches but building rewards.