My weekend crash pad is 4 blocks from Haight St (of the famous Haight-Ashbury), and these 2 days I've felt like a fish out of water.
Where are my Starbucks on every corner? With their trusty Internet connection and decaf Java Chip frappucino! Instead I'm writing this from the Sacred Grounds Cafe (kudos on the witty name). Sitting on a chair outside the cafe is an Asian man sporting dreadlocks, smoking a joint. He was originally smoking it at a table 10 feet from me, until the waitress asked him to move outside.
Another reason for fish out of water is that the Internet at my crash pad is broken, and an internet connection is definitely water to my fish. We pay $20 per month to use the connection from Tully's directly below us, and their router is on infinite reboot. When I went down to tell the barista...
Me: Hi, I'm trying to use your internet, but the connection is cycling on and off. It looks as though your router might be rebooting.
Barista: [blankly] Our what is what?
Me: Your internet isn't working.
Barista: The technical support said our power supply might be broken. Hey, maybe that explains why the ice machine next to it is broken too!
Me: Wait, if your ice machine also isn't working, then it's probably not the power supply on the router. It's probably the electrical outlet or the wiring in the wall.
Barista: [slowly, as if speaking to idiot] No, it's the PO-WER SU-PPLY. See, there are surges of power, and then no power.
Barista: They're sending out a technician on Monday.
Me: [with relief] Thank you.
I do like it, this challenging of my comfort zone. And there are perks nearby which are right in the middle of my area of comfort. I'm a few blocks away from Golden Gate Park and the de Young Museum. Check out this cocoa pod sculpture from de Young. It's a coffin.
That's right, the artist was a maker of coffins, and his fisherman uncle asked for a special one, so he made a boat. Then more friends started asking for special coffins. He lived in a country where the main export is cocoa. Hence, the cocoa coffin.
One of my favorite paintings is this one:
My mother said on our visit a few weeks ago, "This painting is so easy! Just a few rough slashes with a brush!"
But I was captivated. The man and woman are looking straight at each other, in a gorgeous room with high ceilings and sunlight streaming in through picture windows, yet the scene screams desolation.
Most of us have been at that place before, yes?