Monday, July 14, 2003

One Fine Day

I finally went on a long overdue date. We have been seeing each other for quite some time but lately, I’ve been busy (okay, not really) but, the past few times we saw each other was in groups. I figured that we should give it another chance after all, there were some good memories in the past. So, I planned for some one-on-one quality time, I got all dressed, made reservations and headed out. *Smiling* let me tell you, I was glad I did.

His name is San Francisco (he doesn’t like to be called “Frisco,” he’ll forgive out-of-towners but not locals). All metaphors and puns set aside, I had a date with my city. SF is a beautiful place and if you pay attention it is a site of deep humanity, romance, and heart. Yes, I was tempted to title this “I Heart SF” but I did not want to draw a comparison to any other city because San Francisco truly is a city of its own. It has the heart and soul of a blues club in the Mission, the charm of a cute but slightly reticent boy from the Marina, the eclectic fun of a parade in the Castro and the beauty of both its bridges and surrounding waters. The motley of space, greens, culture, set up for all walks of life: families, singles, friends, gays and lovers. Yes, lovers.

The date began with lunch at Golden Gate Park. I picked up a sandwich from Little Lucas – oh, I failed to mention that SF is home to the best dining experience in the world. Where else can you have a 6 course, 5 star, 4 hundred dollar dinner (for two) by chef Gary Danko himself and then head down the road for a foldable slice of heaven at Pizza Orgasmica for $2? (okay, perhaps NYC’s Nobu and Gray’s Papaya may pose a little competition but they’re a long cab ride apart). So, I’m at the park, copping a squat under a tree, eating my rosemary, garlic, dijon chicken sandwich, swigging my iced tea and engaging in of my favorite pastimes, people watching. I do a lot of things alone: watch movies, go shopping even dine out alone but when I eat alone I’m always bringing along a book (alright, magazine) or the paper (okay, the Style Section). This time I wanted to go sans the literature and not have to be armed with some rationale for being alone. It isn’t easy at first. In fact, being with just yourself in public can be uncomfortable. Fortunately, the discomfort was quickly alleviated by the surrounding activity. There was a diverse group of children playing in the park. On one slide there was a diverse group of children trained to each other. Then, on the other side of the park and age spectrum, there was an elderly couple caning around the park, outside hands dragging their canes and inside hands holding on to each other. Since, it was mid-week, mid-day, I figured if I wanted to see people of ages in the middle of that bracket I would have to leave the park. I take a final swill of the tea.

Now, I’m sipping coffee at a sidewalk café near the corner of Haight and Ashbury. This is a fun street. At one glance, you have grunge-like skaters doing tricks then across the street you have girls dropping $300 for a knit top. Then, there’s the elusive holding of hands. I spot a couple crossing the intersection and I’m wondering if they’ll make it across safely because they’re so preoccupied with each other. Typically, I make a child-like, jealous-filled gag reflex at these sightings, especially when the only thing my hand is holding is that of Mr. Marlboro. But I don’t. It is rare to see a couple walking together actually walking together. They were talking, laughing and she even did the hair-flip.

Now, it’s almost dinner time. I abandon my reservations, the Little Lucas (trust me ain’t nothing “Little” about this sandwich) had me still full. Also, full from all that the city had to offer, I decide to call it a day- you should always know when to end a good date. Obvious to state, it was one fine day.