Runaway Cinderella

Running from a perfect world, trying to find her wild side...


Quick SanFran Thoughts

"That's beautiful." It's a phrase I use so much around here. And it's true! There's so much beauty. But I haven't yet figured out if it's a facade of beauty cast over ugliness, like well done makeup on a scarred face, or a sheen of run down sadness glazing the face of pure loveliness, like a woman with the weight of stress and tiredness upon her perfect face.

It's in seeing a marvel like Coit Tower with a "safe surrender" baby drop off point two blocks below.

It's in a classy restaurant housed in a building that looks half a step from being condemned, or a stunning piece of architecture sprayed with graffiti. Under some beauty is ugliness, and under most ugliness, beauty. I had wondered why San Francisco was touted as a city of mystery, but now I begin to understand. It's mysterious because, apparently no matter how long you've lived here, you can never fully grasp it. Under every layer is another layer waiting for you. And just when you think you have it locked down, along comes something else, like walking down the street five times, then walking it at night and watching the whole atmosphere change instantly, from quaint, conservative shops to street musicians, strip joints, and nightclubs. It's seeing Chinatown transformed from a bustling shopping district and a culture of its own to a dingy, barely lit alley you wouldn't want to walk alone.

I love this city. The way the fog rolls in out of nowhere, how you freeze on one block and on the next you get sunburned. How 90 degree dry heat feels like the 70 degree humidity at home. The masses of humanity have a rhythm that sinks into your bones in no time. It's a rhythm and a pattern that makes you not even care that you walked ten miles in a day, thirty in a weekend. You don't care that you're solid ache from toes to knees or that your chest is burning like fire because of your ridiculous looking sunburn. You don't care that the wind has caused your hair to become one solid knot, or that you can't breathe after one too many hills.

Because, frankly, there's a reason this is a city where a one-bedroom condo costs over a million dollars. It isn't called one of the greatest cities in the world for nothing. It has its beauty and its ugliness, but that's because it's human. It's not just that it's filled with humanity. It's that the city itself seems to live, breathe, even move at times. It reflects the human condition, it brings out the worst in some people and the best in most.

I'm saying goodbye tomorrow, but, just like some people, there are some places you never forget.


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