|Powell Street, 1945|
BACK FOR MORE— All week I’ve been thinking about her. And, what’s making me squirm is I have no plans for the weekend. I could be at the airport in an hour and add another two hours and I’d be in her arms. Who am I kidding? If I show up unannounced she’d yawn. What man can take sleepy indifference?
The bitch called me, again.
If you stripped San Francisco of its hills, cable cars, bridges, bistros, urban weirdoes, politicos, skyline and saloons, you’d end up with seven miles by seven miles of nothing there, there. Bounded by water on three sides and San Bruno Mountain to the south, the glory and bluster of California’s own Greenwich Village is merely 49 square miles of mix and match, scratch and sniff.
Geography saved the City’s eccentric ass.
No room for suburban sprawl here. San Francisco is jammed, squeezed together like fat farm habitués caught in the same doorway during a fire drill. It’s a walk-around city of neighborhoods where humans touch, talk and even smell what’s on each
other’s stoves. You can walk to work or stop and have coffee and see
It’s nothing like L.A., where you climb down from your building
and climb into your car and drive to your garage and never touch the
San Francisco’s cousins are Chicago, New York and Boston.
It has culture and heritage when she wants something from you.
And next door to her flat is a wino bar.
Don’t-call-me-Frisco is as old as American cities get in the West and,
despite its Spanish name, it’s a white man’s town that’s owned by the Chinese.
And another thing. San Francisco is a woman—the Bitch Goddess---a limousine liberal in a right-wing state.
She’s flat out gorgeous but has a heart made from Rockwell 58 grade stainless steel.
You don’t ever play around on your woman in a city this small.
It just doesn’t pay. People get shot or knifed for being seen arm-in-arm in front of Macy’s window — even if she’s your secretary and she grabbed on to your arm because she’s in high heels and doesn’t want to fall on the rain-slick sidewalk.
Save your excuses — some shark attorney has already slipped your wife his card. And remember she half of everything in this state, and the bloodsucker working for her gets half of yours.
That is San Francisco.
And, I’m listening myself stupid waiting for the plane to board, hoping that the tail between my legs doesn’t show.
And maybe before the drugs wear off and the bullet holes heal someone can explain to the boy in the snapshot behind the broken glass picture frame that only plastic bottles and Teflon politicians are shatterproof—By Tom Gresham, San Francisco Police Department, Retired.