Monday, November 28, 2011

Something Fun

I spent a half hour before bed last night reading my posts from two summers ago, those fine months spent at Disneyland as an official Cast Member. Damn, I had fun! I also realized I haven't done such a good job lately of really trying to relate an experience to you all. In trying to figure out what's going on around San Francisco that might make for an interesting read, I continually draw a blank. Not for lack of detail to write about, but because I think the whole experience is so overwhelming that attempting to single out any one aspect is near impossible.

So here's this instead: I drove from Bend back to SF yesterday. The trip consists of two self-patented key Phases, each with four sections. From North to South, they are:
- Phase One: Bend to Klamath Lake, Klamath Lake to Weed; Weed to Shasta; Shasta to Redding.
- Phase Two: Redding to Dunnigan (505); Grassy Fields (505); Nightmarish urban sprawl (I-80); Richmond to San Francisco proper.

Phase Two is notoriously god-awful. Not only do you have I-5 to conquer, but once you've finally managed its 160-mile stretch of nothing, an even more boring series of grass fields looms (excusable only because it's super easy to break the law and use your cell phone here), followed by a guaranteed traffic jam for 65 miles.

When I stop and think about it (which the traffic jam allows ample time for), though, the funneling process I go through to take me from rural highway to urban parking spot near my apartment is remarkable. Wading through millions of people and their cars, taking a specific series of exits, crossing multiple bridges, turning an appropriate number of lefts and rights, and finally pulling into whichever patch of pavement is lucky enough (and empty enough) to have me is just such a process. And then once I'm out of my car and walking to good old 2423 Post, the relative silence of the street is staggering considering the onslaught of mind-boggling stimuli I just had to deal with to reach a specific point in the city that, from afar, looked SO busy.

And I have this ritual of putting on the entire Suburbs album by Arcade Fire as soon as I start crossing the Bay Bridge. Little else is as epic as approaching the SF skyline with Arcade Fire blasting, the buildings looming larger and larger and larger until before you know it the vista is too IMAX-y to appreciate as a whole and you're submerged, and all around you is the city and lights and traffic and incredible rolling hills that you have to shoot quickly up before you can come barreling back down the other side of, all the while dodging bikers and crazed cabbies and homeless slinkers and drunk couples pirouetting off sidewalks, neon signs flashing left and right to the heavy beat of "Modern Man."

It's all fabulous spectacle, to be sure, and little else makes me feel so alive. Also, knowing what I'm doing has helped substantially, because my first few visits here I was too concerned about not getting mowed over by crazy Californian drivers to pay any attention to these man-made vistas.

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