Death by Machete


And other adventures in bicycling.

It was a bit of a shit show out there tonight as I was heading in towards the Mission from the Outer Sunset and the calm environs thereof.

Well.

Not really calm.

Hardly, Strictly Bluegrass was all weekend and this morning it was shockingly loud.

I thought at one point that I was hearing Tom Waits and I realized it was just so loud, distorted, and warped from traveling through the last bit of trees to my ears, that it sounded like a loud, belligerent, drunken Tom Waits performance this morning in my house as I was writing.

I was amused.

And I was not going anywhere near it.

Yes.

I had a tiny touch of FOMO.

Fear of missing out.

However.

I also wanted to have a relaxing day and I had some projects and plans that needed attending to, its honestly much more important to me to have my food prepped and ready to go for the week then to battle out the drunken pot soaked crowds at the festival.

San Francisco does like a good festival.

Or street fair.

Castro Street Fair was also today and it seemed that the benevolent weather was going to charm its way into San Franciscan legend with the warm sunny sunshine.

Although.

Should one stand still enough.

Or.

Should one be a long time San Franciscan resident.

One knew.

Or at least I knew.

The fog was coming.

I could feel it on my skin as I head out to do some of my grocery shopping today.  I still get quite a little thrill that my bicycle commute to get groceries happens to be along Great Highway, right along the Pacific Ocean.

The beach was packed.

I hadn’t plans to attend to anything at the beach either.

Again, too many people.

But, so pretty to look at and as I said, really a scenic little route to do my errands.

The pleasure of living in San Francisco struck home again and again today and over this past weekend as well.  I am really lucky that I get to live here.  I work hard and my life is fairly simple and the trade-off is that I live in this gorgeous jewel of a city.

It’s not the same city I moved to twelve years ago, but then again, I never thought it should be.  I actually like a lot of the changes I have seen in the city since I have moved here.

Some things not so much, I think MUNI fares are too high and rents are totally ridiculous, but I have the option to live elsewhere and I don’t so I don’t reserve the right to bitch about the city.

It is what it is and I am just grateful to still get to be a part of it.

Even, when I almost get hacked to bits by a machete on my bicycle.

The bicycle commute up Lincoln was a little crazy.

When I normally ride, in the morning, I don’t have to be too concerned about the traffic being intoxicated, I mean for the most part, there have been a few times when I thought some one was out of their skull, but really commuter traffic is what I am used to and it can be uncomfortable, but there’s usually not a lot of foot traffic or pedestrians.

Not so today with the last day of the festival happening in the park.

Folks on foot galore.

Moms and dads and strollers full of kids.

Skateboarders.

Dirty hippy kids with dogs.

Man with machete.

I saw him popping around in between cars at 20th and Irving and I couldn’t quite see what was happening, but there was a large machete be wielded, a lot of lank brown hair in dudes eyes and a general look of not being entirely present to the world that made me extraordinarily cautious as I moved up the block.

It was a baby coconut stand that dude had put up on the corner of  20th and Irving by the pedestrian cross walk.

The light changed and dude walked out into traffic swinging his machete, picking up a coconut at the same time to hack into pieces.  Except he wasn’t paying attention to the traffic, and all this hair was in his eyes and god damn that’s a big knife.

The thought passed in my head.

“That would be a funny way to die.”

Uh.

No fucking thank you.

“BICYCLEBICYCLEBICYCLEBICYCLE!”

I hollered out.

I couldn’t swerve much to the left, there was traffic right next to me proceeding into the intersection.

He saw me at the last-minute and dropped his knife down.

“Thanks!”

I called out, my heart in my mouth and then I just laughed.

Only in San Francisco.

I made my way up Lincoln and then I actually took Oak Street all the way down to the Lower Haight.  I refused to go on the bike path through the Pan Handle.  There was a huge back log of bicycles waiting for the light to change at Stanyan and Oak and I decided to flit through on the road instead of the bike path.

Which was a veritable mess of bicycles, dogs, strollers, old people out for their after dinner constitutional, bikes coming and going both ways, joggers, and roller bladers.

I felt safer on Oak Street with the traffic zipping past then I would have on the bike path.

Then as the dusk was turning gloamy and purpled I spun through Church and Castro Street then dropped down to 17th hit the bicycle lane onward to the Mission and down to 24th and Florida Street.

At one point I was on 22nd and Alabama and I saw the old Bodega I used to buy six packs of Sierra Nevada from and it’s been renovated into an upscale craft beer and wine store.

I chuckled.

I avoided a few doors on cars popping open and made it to my destination.

A good hour of getting the deal and then a hop back on my bicycle and the ride in reverse.

Except this time.

I took the park and the fog was here and it was a carnival of breakdown happening from the festival as the last drunken dregs meandered out of the park.

I zipped a long.

The fog rich on my face, warm, wet, misty, thick with love and sea salt goodness.

My God I love San Francisco, I thought as I rounded the last turn on Lincoln at 46th Avenue and floated through the mist towards my little home.

Machete wielding madmen and all.

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