Posts Tagged ‘riot police’

Crawling Out of My

July 20, 2013

Fucking skin.

I felt it prickle up and wondered if I was perhaps actually coming down with some sickness.

I felt feverish and unsettled and so far down the road in the future that no wonder I was uncomfortable in my body.  Future tripping is not a good trip for me.

Never was, never is.

I did have a little stroll down memory lane tonight though, faces and places of San Francisco  that I had not thought of in some time.  I am coming up on my 11th year of living in San Francisco.

Give or take six months in Paris.

And two and a half in East Oakland.

Oh, fyi, stay the hell out of Fruitvale tonight if you can, there’s an Occupy protest going on that looked like it was getting brisk and uncomfortable.  There was that tingle of uncertain electricity in the air, a balance that could be tipped either way, and I could see the riot gear and the batons dangling and I wondered, how many of the protestors actually live in or around Fruitvale.

I think if you do, live in the neighborhood, you were busying getting your Friday night El Gordo Loco taco truck on.

That place is booming.

Aside from constant vigilance while riding my bicycle down International Avenue, I have to pay extra attention to this corner, loads of people whipping in and out for some toothsome carnitas or al pastor.

It does smell divine.

But I never have stopped.

Even when I was in my I am gonna get crazy with my food mode.

I had that thought today, Enteman’s Chocolate Cake donuts with glazed sugar icing.

One box please.

Followed by crazy.

I deigned to go there.

But I did not.

I stumbled through the uneasy on my skin and said, hey you know, yeah that extra time I have, it’s not a bad thing, it’s gonna be a good thing, there will be loads of things to occupy you and your time.

Tomorrow I will go see a friend whom I have not seen in years, not since, I just realized I left my place up in Nob Hill.  She still lives on Taylor Street.  I am looking forward to seeing her and I also realized that I am nervous too.  She’s successful, does well, travels, has a great job, has money, I am assuming, and I am comparing and despairing.

Which may have accounted for some of the discomfort today.

When I run into people that I knew from my “former” life, I feel almost compelled to prove that I have done something big and bold and daring with my life.

Then I think, oh please, you have done plenty.

If not just in the success of living in one of the most expensive places on earth for over a decade, that has got to count for something.

I don’t have to prove myself, I don’t have to fix myself, and most of the time I just have to sit, drink a cup of coffee and listen to someone else for a little while, listen to their experience and share mine.

My experience is valuable.

Really the one thing that I have that is all mine and I have a wealth of it.

I do.

I sat in the falling gold spiked light at Atlas Cafe on 20th and Florida with a friend this evening, sharing our experiences, relating our solutions, laughing at ourselves.

I sat there in the warm sun getting more and more comfortable in myself, my body, my skin, I don’t have to check out and I can walk through this (whatever this is) some made up story of failure and loss and it’s not going to work out because I can’t see it coming.

Damn it, girl, don’t you know that’s when the most exciting stuff happens?

Some of the exciting stuff can be scary, the unknown, but usually what happens when I ride out the discomfort is that whatever it is ends up being better on the other side, I emerge enriched with another set of experiences.

Sometimes it is just to compare the two places in my minds eye, one full decade apart, the cafe, Atlas, was the first cafe I went to in San Francisco, it is located at 20th and Florida, my first place in the city was a sublet at York and 20th.

It was for two months.

It morphed into a longer time, then the house got put on the market, sold, and owner occupied in a matter of weeks.


We had 30 days to get out and there was no paying our way.

I found another spot, not too far down the road at 22nd and Alabama.

Atlas was still my go to cafe.

I liked the patio where I could smoke and drink my lattes.

I liked the out door tables I would sit at and wait for my dealer to roll by on his way to drop me a few grams of blow.

I drank beer there, ate pizza there, did blow in the bathroom, although it was so close to my house that I preferred to go back to my place and do it privately, had blind dates that I met through craigslist.  It was my go to cafe.

It was my entree into San Francisco.

A decade later it is still there, a stalwart in a sea of ever burgeoning upscale neighborhood joints and eateries, still serving the smoked trout salad, still serving coffee in pint glass mugs.

I felt connected and known.

If only to myself.

I felt back in my skin.

And despite hopping on my bike to hit Rainbow, grab some groceries, and haul them back to the East Bay, I did not feel that I was marking time anymore.

I was just in the moment.

Just me, in San Francisco with my bag full of organic produce, my rolled jean pant leg revealing purple and teal striped socks, my one speed whip and my knowledge of the city.

I wore a hoodie today and a jean jacket; I know what July in San Francisco is like.

The fog flooded through the streets and I rolled right along with its chill breath into the night.

A Little Scared

July 14, 2013

A little wired.

A little relieved.

I ran into an old friend of mine whom I had not seen in years and I knew the minute his face lit up and we hugged that the gig was up.

The gig has been up and I have been nervously looking around saying, that’s not what I want to do, nope, not looking at that, you people freak me out.

Then there’s the other part of me, the rational, I could use some help with this, here’s the solution, feel free to pick it up or go back to crazy town.

I chose to call him back, minutes after riding my bike down 24th from Noe Valley to the 24th Street BART.

Which was surrounded by cops, van loads of cops, cops in riot gear.

If I thought yesterday’s lock down in the Nordie’s Off the Rack was disconcerting, rolling through the intersection at Valencia and 24th through flanks of cops in riot gear and vans blocking the street was even more so.

What the fuck is going on out there?

Zimmerman decision.



Man, the last few days I have just rode my bicycle through some odd places.

I slowly pedaled toward the station which was surrounded by motorcycle cops and quietly asked one of them if BART was still running.



I scooted myself down the stairs, doing my best to ignore the mob of people across the street at 24th and Mission making some getting angry noises and the bellow of one skinny white boy with a megaphone extorting folks to get really pissed now.

I just want to get on BART and get home.

I clambered down the stairs with my messenger bag full of groceries and saw I had just missed the train back, it was going to be another 18 minutes.

You could call him you know, I thought, my friend had given me his number and then said, “call me now so I have it in my phone,” I believe if he had not have said that I would not have called.

Not when I did.

Not tomorrow.

Not ever.

I would just keep trying to do it my way and then at some point I would pop from the pressure of keeping my food shit together.

You could call him now, you know, you could just ask.


The window was open and though afraid, how come I have got to walk through this fear shit all the time?  I decided I better slip on through before that window closed again.

“Hi, it’s Carmen,” I said, after the fifth ring I figured there was going to be no pick up, but damn it, he did.

I could almost here the glee in his voice when he said hello back.



So, I asked for help and took out a piece of paper and wrote down exactly what was said and now I have, sigh, a wake up call to make in the morning and a place to go at 8:30 a.m. and some explicit instructions on how to start my day.

The road narrows.

Indeed it does.

But I am tired of trying to figure it out on my own and though my alarm clock is now set for 6 a.m.

On a Sunday?!

On a Sunday.

I am alright with it.

First of all, I can take a nap tomorrow if I need to.

Second of all, I will continue to get the same results unless I take some different actions, I want to take some different actions.

I also saw John Ater tonight who just said, “tell them your rates are going up and don’t underbid yourself.”

I did not even get to say well, I um, shouldn’t I, uh, shit.


All the thunder stolen right out from underneath me.

Just tell them your rates are going up.

I will craft an e-mail tomorrow.

Most likely after I get back from my 8:30 a.m. all the way the fuck across town bicycle ride.  After I make a 7:15 a.m. check in phone call and sit quietly for a half hour.

I am so dreading this I was already trying to figure out how I was going to get to sleep to even get six hours of sleep.

I keep telling myself that all along this has been waiting and I can let go of the misery if I just follow some simple rules and I won’t be obsessive about the thoughts and I can try something different.

It’s just something different, which always induces fear, even when it is something good different.

There’s nothing wrong with getting up early, it’s not like I had some big plans tonight.

Watch a show, troll the interwebs, drink some tea, read a book.

I say this as I watch the clock tick forward toward midnight.

I dont’ want to do this thing.

I never have.

I have shied away before.

But in the shying away I believe I have been practicing contempt prior to investigation.

I have to go investigate.

I am not going to say it won’t work until I give it the old college try.

So, here’s to me getting up early, following someone else’s instructions and saying, my way sucks, I give up, how about I try something different.

Can’t hurt to try.

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