The Joy of San Francisco

I keep mentioning visits to Redding to photograph bridges in hopes that someone will ask me “Do you like Redding?” so that i can reply, “I don’t know, i’ve never redded”.


Somehow being rusticated to Petaluma for a couple of years has made me appreciate San Francisco even more.  I’ve written about my love for the farmers’ markets and the restaurants, but it’s not just about food.

There’s also a gestalt here, one that the galloping gentrification has not yet ruined, a certain mindset that endears the city to me.  The infamously liberal politics is part of it, of course, but more than that i find appealing the readiness of the citizens to engage with each other.  This is not some big city where folks don’t make eye contact.

I’ve complained that every time i take a fall on the Segway, i’m immediately swarmed by people wanting to help me when i’m so embarrassed that i’m wishing i could just lie there and lick my wounds in peace rather than having to jump up immediately proclaiming that i’m fine, just fine even though my entire body is throbbing in agony.  And of course when i see anyone else (usually a bicyclist) fall, i’m instantly all over ’em while they get to play the naw, just a flesh wound role.

When i was on my first month-long stay in Amsterdam i wrote about how impressed i was at the Dutch immediately letting me know when i’d dropped something, but San Franciscans are almost as good as the Amsterdammers about this.

But most of all, the great joy of San Francisco is the humor.

Sometimes this takes the form of a graffito. Now graffiti range from vulgar “tags” to expressions covering an entire wall, rising to the form of murals.  Then again, they can be exquisitely simple, like this tiny addition to the street sign for Rose Street outside the Zuni Cafe that you have to squint to see.

Rosé Street


Since i’m on the on my Segway almost every day, i encounter lots of people, and there’s a high level of cordiality.  A while back i pulled up at a traffic light alongside a Prius, and the passenger enthusiastically cried, “Electricity rules!”

My favorite Segway encounter, though, occurred one day when i was riding home from Costco with a 25 lb. bag of sugar (for all my jams and jellies) balanced on the platform.  A bicyclist pulled up beside me at a light and inquired, “That thing run on sugar?”

Segway sugar


And yes, the above photo was staged…in the old folks’ home courtyard.

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