Wednesday, April 06, 2005

How to Have Fun in San Francisco

In one of my favorite old noir movies, D.O. A., Edmond O'Brien's character, on a visit here from Los Angeles, gets a little something from a hotel desk clerk as he's checking in. "Here's a guide," the clerk says, a bit ominously, "telling you how to have fun... in San Francisco."

Personally, I don't need a guide. I know how to have fun in San Francisco. Take the day I had yesterday, for instance...

It started normally, in that I went to work just like I always do, got a few things done and a few posts up on the blog (hey, I get paid to blog!), but then I left at 11:00 and walked to the CalTrain station. The reason for that is that yesterday was one of the most sacred holidays on the Generik Calendar -- baseball's Opening Day. I took the train from South City up to the ballpark, getting into my seat just in time for the annual Barry Bonds Is a Better Baseball Player Than Almost Any Other Human Being Ever Thought of Being, Ever, Even if He Did Take Steroids and Is a Big Whiny Baby Award ceremony (but missing by minutes the shout-out "Kent, you suck!" yelled during the moment of silence for the Pope, dammit). The day was beautiful, just as perfect as Opening Day ever has been and always should be, and the game itself was glorious, with the Giants besting the Dodgers by a final score of 4-2. The season can end now, as far as I'm concerned, with the Giants in first place and the Dodgers in last. Okay, not really, but there can't be a better way for Giants' fans to start it off than by beating the LA nine.

Have I mentioned yet (again) that I believe the Giants are going to win the World Series this season? I do. I believe the Giants will win the World Series this year. And yesterday's game was just the beginning. Tonight: fireworks!

So that was good. That was really good.

After the game, Mrs. Generik and I walked up Third Street, enjoying the afternoon and the afterglow of winning. We parted company at Geary and Stockton, she going in to the fabric store where she works to chat with her co-workers, and me heading up to the Ritz-Carlton for a planned protest against the Gropinator himself, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Arnold was slated to hold court at the hotel in a fund-raising dinner expected to bring in well over $100,000 from his fat-cat special interest friends, and, as has been happening with increasing frequency all over the state and the country, there were quite a few people displeased with his policies there to let him know how unhappy they are. I'd say there were a few thousand folks there yesterday, and I was proud to be among them.

What I found rather refreshing was that it wasn't just the usual San Francisco protest crowd. Instead, this particular crowd was made up largely of working people who rarely engage in that sort of civil misbehavior. Burly guys in union t-shirts and jackets mingled with nurses in their scrubs, off-duty firefighters and policemen, and teachers, many with students and/or sons and daughters in tow. There were even a number of older Asian people with signs about home care for the elderly written in Chinese characters. My own favorite sign was a play on the popular "a village in Texas is missing an idiot" phrase -- it read "A village in Austria is missing an idiot on steroids."

While hanging out there, I ran into Jackson, from the SFist, who was attempting to live-blog the event, and who has some great pictures and information about it here. (I especially enjoy the fact that he managed to capture the ubiquitous Frank Chu, of 12 Galaxies fame, in his pictorial.) He knew who a lot of the speakers were, especially the union guys. I recognized Mark Leno and Tom Ammiano (who was all dolled up in Giants gear, having come straight from the game, just like me and a few hundred others), but that was about it.

Getting a bit of a thirst on by 7 o'clock or so (I didn't last as long at the protest as Jackson did, but then, he had a head start on me in the drinking department), I decided to go to Doc's Clock at 22nd and Mission and check in on the SF chapter of Drinking Liberally, which meets there every Tuesday evening. Apparently I arrived a bit early for that crowd, finding only a couple of people holding a table or two, including the host, Susan, and members Alex and Mark. A couple other people joined up shortly -- Mike and Duncan and Loretta -- and that was it for about half an hour. But not long before I left, I got up to get another beer at the bar, and when I returned the group had doubled. Maybe by osmosis, I'm not sure. In any event, it was a good crowd, with lively, intelligent people (of course!), all of a liberal or progressive bent and interested in substantive political conversation.

Having attended all of the BARBARian get-togethers over the past few months, I couldn't help but make some comparisons between the two groups. The difference that surprised me the most was that not one of the folks I spoke with last night had a blog of his or her own, or even contributed to one. There may have been some bloggers in the group once it had expanded -- I suspect the fellow in the T-shirt with the familiar orange-and-white "B" logo and the word "Blogger" on it might have been one -- but they were all at the far end of the table, and I didn't get to meet any of them before I left. A few of them said they were somewhat interested in blogging, but were afraid that it would take up all their time.

Ha ha, I laughed. Take up all your time? Ha ha. If they only knew...

Another difference was the female presence. By the time I left, the crowd was up to about 14 or 15 people, with an almost even split of men to women. Perhaps that's because of Susan, the host. Or it could be simply because it was a younger crowd than the BARBARians. I'd say the mean age there was about 14 26 at best, and I'm including myself to help skew that number upwards. Did I feel like Grandpa Geezer, lecturing the young'uns about how we used to do back in the war years, marching uphill twenty miles each way, barefoot in the snow? You bet I did.

Still, I felt like they mostly suffered me gladly, allowing me to expound and pontificate and use other multisyllabic words without rolling their eyes and yawning. In other words, I enjoyed myself, and will likely go back.

After all that -- a full day by anyone's measure, I'd say -- I took a cab home and had a nice quiet meal with Mrs. G. It was a good day.
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