Wednesday, March 10, 2010

My Problematic Relationship with San Francisco

Chinatown, 2006

I love San Francisco. The hills. The water. The pedestrian-friendliness. The food. The diversity of culture. So to say that I have a problematic relationship with San Francisco is maybe a little misleading.

But there’s no denying that San Francisco seems to have a problem with things related to me.

Like the time I started a business trip to San Francisco with lunch with an old friend who lives in Sausalito. We had a wonderful time. After lunch, I offered to take the ferry back across to town, which would have been far less of a burden on her. But she insisted on driving me. And then, just after she dropped me off at my hotel, her fancy German car broke down, precipitating a long and expensive day of headaches for her.

And there was the time I had a day to poke around the city before meeting clients and decided to take one of those tourist cruises that goes out to the Golden Gate Bridge. It was a gloriously beautiful fall day. The sky was blue and clear. The wind was blowing. I had the best time as the boat rode the swells just outside the bridge in the ocean and then enjoyed the sun on my back as we returned into San Francisco Bay.

But I didn’t notice until we got back to land that also on my back, on the blue blazer I intended to wear later that day when I met my clients and that was the only jacket I’d brought with me, were the collective droppings of what looked like several well-fed birds.

And the time a water pipe broke in the ceiling above my hotel room, drenching all my belongings which, rather than clean them, as they told me they were going to do, the hotel just threw wet into a plastic bag and UPS-ed them back to me in Virginia. (You didn’t want to be there when that bag arrived.)

And let’s not even go into the time I was doing interviews with organ transplant patients at a San Francisco hospital and had to be rushed into a complete Hazmat decontamination shower and change of clothes after someone sneezed on me.

Sometimes I’ve wondered if there’s a conspiracy afoot to prevent me from leaving San Francisco without buying new clothes?

Not all of my encounters with San Francisco have been so bad. I have gotten to meet and see good friends there. And my work there has invariably gone well. Still, things happen to me there that don’t seem to happen elsewhere. So I’ve learned to pack extra clothes when I got there now, and carry extra plastic bags.

Because you just never know.

Financial District, 2006

Grace Cathedral, 2006

Nordstrom, 2006


  1. Sometimes love is an uphill battle. But it's always worth the fight, isn't it?

  2. Great stories. I'm glad I'm not the only one who has adventures such as those. I recognized Grace Cathedral immediately--these are beautiful. I've never been in that Nordstrom--it sort of reminds me of the shape of the Guggenheim!

  3. rogerio granato (flickr's cariocando)March 10, 2010 at 3:14 PM

    Ijust love your writings ! time take a stain/waterproof suit with you...
    ...loved the "well-fed birds"...