April 2006


About 3:30 I’m sitting here about to fall out of my chair with fatigue and realize, yes, time for an afternoon nap.

And then I go in the kitchen for a sip of water and look out to the west and realize that the clouds are breaking up and there is a very good possibility that there might be a ray of sun before it sets. Yes, sun. Sun that it feels like we haven’t seen since sometime back in late February.

And then, ten minutes later, as anticipated, it comes out.

Instantly, every San Franciscan at home immediately drops all those silly afternoon nap ideas and dashes outdoors. Once outside, we contrive errands, something, anything that will keep us out there.

And why get into a car for this? Oh no, we must do this on foot or at least in open conveyances. In San Francisco folks fairly routinely speak or acknowledge each other in some way on the street, but today everybody at least waves at everyone else; and most of us shout joyful greetings, we are so happy to see the sun.

I wrote in one of my Amsterdam tales about how in Amsterdam in May the instant the sun came out the cafe terraces were full of patrons because they were so eager to get some sun after their gloomy winter. Well, now after five weeks of nearly constant rain, I can more fully appreciate their attitude.

I’m glad I’ve taken my camera along because otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to catch this public service announcement:


The Segway is a wonderful vehicle for photography because you can wheel around and position yourself for shots so quickly and easily and then take the pic from the Segway.

I loop around on Hill Street and Castro and Diamond taking shots as I work toward 24th Street. First, I drop in Walgreen’s to pick up a prescription, which is the only necessary errand. Walgreen’s is jammed, and the atmosphere is positively festive because all the customers are thrilled over the opportunity to be out of their houses on a sunny afternoon.

After Walgreen’s I stop at the Noe Valley Bakery and pick up a sesame onion baguette and then ride down to the 24th Street Cheese Store and chat with Charles and pick up an Acme sourdough baguette because I’ve been on a feeding frenzy on 8″ pieces of these baguettes split and topped with cheese and thrown into a hot oven for a few minutes to get them crusty and melt the cheese.

The vibe in both stores is similarly upbeat.

By the time I get back home, an hour has passed and the opening in the clouds has moved enough to the east that the sun is beginning to be obscured.

An hour later, the rain begins again.

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