Tuesday, January 8, 2013
Sorry about that, I've been a little distracted by San Francisco.
San Fran's one of my favourite ever cities, but a place where it's hard to blend in. I don't know how you'd do it, how you'd look local - having a kid with you helps, I think, but not when you're taking in every view through a Nikon DX-whatever lens. Maybe if you had a dog of some variety, everyone seems to have a dog or two, and people here seem to have giant dogs as much as little ones, even in the narrowest, steepest-staired of apartments. I think the bigger your dog, the more local you'd seem. Maybe you could rent one, like you rent a bike to ride around Golden Gate park ... and people would take photos of you, a native with your wild beast, in your element.
I suspect if you thought about food, talked about food, and ate food constantly, you might blend in ... though I can't say I've heard any locals obsessing about their next meal, I find it hard to imagine they wouldn't. This city teems with beautiful cafes and restaurants, strung out along the main streets but also dotted here and there in small spaces in historic buildings in sometimes-leafy, always-hilly neighbourhoods with tantalizing names: Russian Hill. North Beach. Telegraph Hill. Restaurants you could almost walk past if you happened to get a bit of fog in your eye at just the wrong time.
Just tonight I had dinner at one of these places, just 2 tables wide and maybe half a dozen long, where I ate some of the best food I've ever eaten and watched my daughter literally lick the plate clean - and yes, I let her do that even at nice restaurants because she should enjoy her time unbounded by social conventions. She'll grow up soon enough, and licking plates or bowls will no longer signify 'extraordinary' but will merely be something that happens when it's 11:30 at night and the very last scoop of ice cream in the house has just been eaten, and those two occasions are nowhere near the same.
I can't say I've seen any local San Franciscans of any age lick their plates, but they might. The food is that good here.
I think maybe if you live in this city you either give up your car because it's impossible to park it anywhere or because you don't like the person you are when you drive it, or maybe you do like that person too much, and that's the problem.
But then again, you aren't going to see locals wandering out into the middle of real-live-functioning streets to take photos of steep hills or historic prisons or crazy spire things.
Personally, I don't know a thing about being a local around here. But I can tell you it feels amazing to step out the marble-fringed front door of this apartment we've rented for a handful of nights, and look down the stairs at all the tourists wandering up the hill with their dangling cameras, and think if only I had a dog.
More soon, when I'm more focused,