New Year’s Eve

I was invited to a New Year’s party at the home of some friends of friends, and at the last minute decided to go. Since it was only seven blocks away (three south and four west), I decided to be prudent and walk, especially after I had noticed that apparently many of my neighbors were having parties since there was not a parking place in sight.

Seven blocks is not very far in, say, Lubbock, Texas. But I live near the top of Dolores Heights, and the party was in Noe Valley, and what those place names do not convey is that since Noe Valley rises fairly steeply in the four blocks to the west, the party was actually at pretty much the same elevation as my flat. So the trick was to lose as little elevation as possible in getting there. This was complicated by an unnamed hill to the southwest that is so steep that several streets don’t go through, so by the time I got around the hill on the streets to the south, I felt that I had given up a bit too much elevation.

I’m glad I made it, though, because playing at the party was a really delightful Ragtime trio whom I had heard on earlier occasions. They officially ended their set shortly before midnight, but got so caught up by the spirit of the evening that they resumed playing a few minutes later and continued for some time.

The crowd was a superbly San Francisco mix. Everything from three gay leather punks with spiked collars to young straight yuppie couples to a delightful and ancient Japanese couple.

We were all out in the street at the stroke of midnight just as the 11 Hoffman came wheezing up 24th Street to stop at our corner. Most of the party made a ceremonial loop through the completely empty bus, and we gave the driver an unopened bottle of champagne for later.

The walk home was great fun, as there were people afoot on every block returning from neighborhood parties, and we cheered each other home. I did, however, perhaps slightly confused by those last few glasses of champagne, again give up too much elevation on the return trip, although this time I tried skirting the crest of that unnamed hill on street stairs but ended up damn near the crest on Alvarado Street. I shall have to try this again, sober.

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