Monday, October 30, 2006


Well, it's been a busy past month. I've had one day off so far in October, and that was Thanksgiving. For those who don't already know, I'm at teacher's college now, taking some baby steps toward adult responsibility. Sort of. I've spent the past month of weekdays at my placement at a high school in Scarborough, while working every weekend giving away free compact flourescent light bulbs as part of the Bright Ideas campaign. But now that's over! Now I'm back in Kingston, going to classes at Queens. And, frankly, taking a break... I plan on doing as little as possible for the next week. But I do have time to finally finish posting my journal notes from my San Francisco trip...

Aug. 29, 7:30pm
"Another beautiful day in San Francisco - actually, a beautiful day in Wine Country, only an hour outside of town. San Francisco itself has been and remains cloudy, frequently foggy, and generally not summerlike at all, even in the heart of August. But as soon as you go over the Golden Gate bridge and head north into wine country, the sun appears and spreads across the rolling hills. It was a good day: I saw some old-growth redwoods, drank a great many wine samples, including wine from an organic/biodynamic winery (Benzinger's), and another winery that was entirely off-grid, using largely solar power. Oh, and the tour that I took used a van that ran on 100% biodiesel. Apparently one of the owners of the tour co. is involved in running the San Francisco biodiesel cooperative. Sweet! Ah, San Fran, I'm gonna miss you. I will most certainly be back here soon, with friends next time for sure."

Aug. 30th
"Well, I made it. I survived going across the country, and down the Pacific coast, and I even survived San Francisco - it's wealth and poverty, its comforts and its sketchiness - and now I'm on a plane. We've flown over the mountains around Yosemite (I think) and nearby deserts without any civilization for miles - no roads or anything. I've flown over a patchwork of rectangular fields that looked like a quilt, laid down perfectly flat, that I assume was the Great Plains... a region made for flying over if there ever was one. I even passed through other fields that appeared in patches of yellow and green in perfect circles.
I connect to a different plane in Atlanta. I really can't wait to be home. I've felt sorta sad for much of the flight so far. Not because I'm sad about leaving San Francisco, really. I'm more sad about how big the world is and how there's never enough time to see nearly enough of it. And you can certainly never take all of the people you love with you to even the places your heart might feel you must go to. I feel, right now, that when I get back to Toronto, I could consider never leaving. Everything it lacks? well, all that just means that maybe it's my job to fill those lacks, those empty spaces I might find that cry out for further fullness. Because that's what any good city does - it brings all the beauty from all around intself, and from all around the world in some cases, and focuses it in a way where you can really live with that beauty as closely and as comfortably as possible. Sometimes the beauty gets mixed up with the dirt and the trash and even looks ugly from time to time, but that's all part of the bigness and wholeness, I guess. And I will say Toronto does, for all its shortcomings, make what it has real and comfortable and (relatively) kind. Or maybe I'm just getting dull and old.
I'm also sorta happy to be coming home because last night was a bit trying. I was determined to go out, since it was my last night in town. Eric Gaffney, this guy who was in Sebadoh for their first couple of albums, was playing a show. I got a beer in my neighbourhood (ah, the Mission) at a place called Cha Cha Cha, a nice bar where a three-piece Mexican group was playing live music. Cool. Then I walked along Mission to catch a bus. At the closest bus stop, there were 3 mexican guys. It was odd- one of them had his back to a storefront window (that I think was boarded up), and another guy faced hime directly and talked to him - not quite yelling but talking very forcefully and deliberately in Spanish. The third man stood just off to the side of both of them, with one arm outstretched, holding a book against the wall (or storefront window) directly beside the firt guy's head, as if meaning to block off the man's vision to one side, or possibly blocking off anyone who might want to see who this person was. For some reason, I'm not sure why, I think this book was a bible - it was a hardbound and serious looking book. One thing I remember for sure was the look in the face of the man whose back was against the storefront, because he looked scared - really scared. I though of doing something, to make sure he was okay, but since I was alone and really didn't have any clear idea of what was going on, I continued walking down Mission to the next bus stop. With a feeling of dread.
The show was pretty good, and the bar it was at was typically San Francisco cool. I left before midnight to try to avoid, or at least diminish, a sketchy bus ride. No such luck. There were two loud girls, teenaged, who got into a fight (only verbally, thank god) with some guy who came on who wanted to sit nearby, which they didn't like. Then the guy started smoking, which really escalated things to the point where the bus driver came over. And it was a crowded bus, with no way to avoid the unpleasantness around you. So, in other words, despite San Francisco trying hard to be like another country, a totally separate fantasy world, I was reminded that it remains part of America."

Hmm... I should've ended on a more positive note. Because San Francisco is really beautiful, and haunts me still.

Coming soon: pictures!


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