I Am Seeing A Pattern Here

by

My friend said to me as we sat on the bench outside of Philz Coffee at Folsom and 24th.

I had deliberately not planned anything except one thing, meet a lady, have some tea, and go do that thing were I sit in a room for an hour and listen to other people’s crazy.

Other than that, I wanted, as I have been trying to do, to have a free Sunday.

So, when I received the text asking me what I was up to I was able to say, nothing really, chilling, hanging out, maybe a wander through the Mission.

Let’s meet!

She was on call and had to stay in her neighborhood, the Mission, and I for once, was back in the Mission.

Rearing its busy, confused head with tourists, locals annoyed with the tourists, hipsters staying in for the holiday, people complaining about the Air B-N-B situation at their TIC that was trying to get bought out and not for an owner move in, but so that the land lord could rent out the place to tourists.

I will say the Mission is a long way from being full on Disney, but it’s happening.

Truth be told, I don’t have much of an opinion about it all, I find it interesting for sure, the neighborhood changing, the increase in traffic, the people looking at maps, the number of younger and younger people.

Or maybe, I am just getting older, I remember when Philz was actually manned by Phil.

When the coffee shop was a quiet local secret.

Before they had the mugs and the hats and it was cash only and Phil would hand feed me spoonfuls of some coffee blend he was making up.

“Here, now, try this,” he said with deep sensual pleasure, skimming the foam off the coffee roast after having poured piping hot water over the fresh grounds. That same concoction a few weeks later was to become Canopy of Heaven, a very special light roast coffee blend.

Light in roast, high in caffeine–which also may explain why it, Canopy of Heaven and his other light roast, Greater Alarm (blended up for the firefighters who worked the overnight shifts in the Mission) became my favorites.

I learned from Phil that just because those beans are darker roasted does not mean they have more caffeine, nope, it is the exact opposite–the lighter the roast, the higher the caffeine, and the more tender, I believe, you have to be with the bean, to coax out the flavors–lemon, currant, butterscotch in Canopy of Heaven–as opposed to letting it get too bitter.

Oh.

Yum.

Then the heavy cream.

I do mean heavy.

It’s not half and half.

It’s not milk.

It’s not regular cream.

It’s MANUFACTURING CREAM.

Jesus on a pogo stick, when Phil told me that, well, no wonder.

Manufacturing cream is whipping cream, you know the stuff you put on top of pumpkin pie or a Belgian waffle.

Sinful.

I remember when there was no counter, no line, no tables, a battered store front with weird art and odd posters, no restroom, coffee sacks in heaps on the floor, the cooler had six packs and the odd bottle of Champagne in it, eggs, sad-looking bananas by the front, and a couple of old battered metal shelves with the strangest array of grocery store items ever.

It was a down and dirty Bodega with a guy in a fedora hat winking at you while he made you a pour over coffee.

Now it’s being served on Virgin Airlines.

Um, yeah.

And that is what the Mission is.

It’s now in all the tour books and that’s cool, you know, that means money into the local economy, but sometimes when I am waiting ten minutes to order a coffee from a person who is ironically being condescending to the people in line–do you want to get a tip dude–I do miss the old Mission.

However, the coffee, as always, was really good, and the company amazing.

We sat outside, watched the world go by, talked about an upcoming trip she is planning, one in which there is a Paris leg to it, and I down loaded, probably way too much information into her brain, and then, as well, about the house sitting gig I am at and the person who was staying at the house.

They Air B-N-B the front room.

I felt a little bit too much like a concierge.

On one hand I don’t mind sharing tips and tricks to San Francisco.

The guest wanted to ride the Golden Gate Bridge and I told him where to go, whom to rent from, how to get there, what to avoid, when to go, how to get back–take the ferry–and a few other details.

I had no problem with that.

But I did take a little issue to having to show him a few other things and having someone rely on me for information when I was trying to get out into my own day.

And I was not about to clean up the mess he was making.

I recounted some things and told my friend how I was thinking, acting, and learning.

She told me my pattern.

Actually she and a few other folks recently have.

And I am listening.

Truly I am.

I don’t want to isolate anymore by being too busy to see my friends because I am house sitting, cat sitting, being tour guide to strangers I don’t know, dog walking, or baby sitting on nights when I am not working as a nanny.

I isolate myself by making busy.

I get busy.

I don’t have to feel.

We walked.

The sun shone down.

We went down Balmy Alley and I took photographs.

Murals

Murals

It made me chuckle.

I was a tourist in my own city, in my old neighborhood, I was a tourist, no longer quite a local, I live in the Outer Sunset, you know that place way over on the other side of the mountain, Twin Peaks, in the land of Nod.

It’s so much more mellow and quiet where I am, although, truth be told, there’s a bit of the gentrification happening there as well.

In the end, though, I don’t mind, I don’t care, let them eat cake, or hand crafted artisan chocolates with crushed sea salt harvested on the Solstice by young women with owl tattoos and labia piercings under the new moon, in the end, ultimately, I love living here.

Getting to live here.

Getting to be here.

I parted with my sweet friend to get lunch and ride my bicycle down Folsom Street to Rainbow.

I stocked up on the rest of the things I will need as I continue to do my house sitting gig and I vowed to let myself be not quite so busy, not quite so isolated, to get out into the world and see it.

Even if it means I look like a tourist in my own town.

And, speaking of tourists, I returned home this evening to find the Air B-N-B guest had left, cleaned most of his mess, and I now have the house to me, myself, and I, plus one very cute orange tabby cat.

Getting again to get grateful for the fact that I still get to be in the Mission, if just for a few more days, before I return to the beach.

Either way you slice it, I am in San Francisco.

And though I may play a tourist on tv.

This is my home.

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