Saturday, March 16, 2013

vertigo bay

a hill.
greetings from san francisco.

i wonder what the earthquake forecast is today? i mean, i can't find a word about it on or or regardless, i'm hoping to increase my survivability by being outside, running.

turns out san francisco is a great place to run.

i wish i had known this when i lived here, back in the day. unfortunately, i didn't run much back then, except on a basketball court. i can tell you anything you want to know about some of the local basketball courts, if you want: they look like basketball courts.

you're welcome.

breaking news: seeing a place on foot is a richer, more nuanced, more viscerally profound experience than blankly watching it go by through a car window. and you can tell someone, "dude, i just had a rich, viscerally profound experience running around san francisco," but they won't get it. 

unless they've done something similar themselves, what they're likely to say is, "oh. good for you." then, when you're not making eye contact they'll think, "whatever," or roll their eyes, or they'll roll their eyes and think, "whatever" simultaneously.

most of the time they won't roll their eyes and say "whatever" to your face, but if they do you should probably change the subject. or look at your watch and say, "oh, wow, i've got to go talk to someone who's alive."

huge digression. sorry.

for anyone still reading, i'd like to report that my run through san francisco included a climb up lombard street. do you know this street? bill cosby did a bit on it back in the day... it's so steep, he said, that it's the only time he'd ever had a head-on collision with a hill.

the stairs on either side of lombard street are of a similar steepness, but i slogged up, took a look around at spectacular views to the north and south, then slowly ran down the other side. i wanted to run faster, but i was afraid i wouldn't be able to stop. or that i'd trip and do a faceplant in front of the golden gate bridge. i can't have that.

as mentioned earlier, i used to live in san francisco. plus, i've visited the city on business many times since then. but business trips being what they are (busy-ness), i never had time to revisit any of the old familiar places ~ a circumstance i lamented every time. this trip, due to recent events at spaceneedl sprockets, i was inspired to, shall we say, find some spare time.

where was i? right, heading north on lombard street toward the marina district, where the missus and i lived before the earthquake in '89. this was so long ago, she wasn't even "the missus" yet. which means we were living together. in sin. which is probably why there was an earthquake. god reportedly looks down on such arrangements and sends natural disasters to remind everyone to shape up or shake up. in fact, some megachurch preachers say He has that very bumper sticker on his car:

Shape up or shake up.

yeah, probably not.

heading into the marina, i stopped briefly at a couple basketball courts i used to run on. yup, these are those, i noted, with some affection. they still look like basketball courts.

i continued on to the very apartment building we loved so much (except for the loud, nonstop tour buses, of course, and the loud-swearing homeless guy and the loud gunshots from a car ~ we didn't love those things).

moved by the moment, i put my hand on the bricks, closed my eyes, and listened with my heart...nothing. they were just bricks, and they felt like bricks. still, i felt them...rough and solid and scratchy. i would not like to have felt them from a moving car, i can tell you that.

moving on, i ran toward the marina green, with its stunning views of the golden gate bridge, the marin headlands, and fog. usually when you have one (the fog) you don't have the others, but this day was splendid in that all three were present in equal measure. the effect was viscerally profound. no, seriously. i just stood there, smiling, trying to memorize every detail, every nuance of the bridge towers obscured by moving tendrils of gray one moment, illuminated by impossibly bright sunlight the next. the ageless, rolling slopes of the headlands rose above the north end of the span. the opaque green water of san francisco bay lapped against the seawall. it was glorious.

i gladly would have stood there past sunset, but there was an afternoon appointment that i couldn't quite bring myself to ignore. so i moved on to the south, where alcatraz pulled itself up out of the fog like an iguana climbing a desert rock.

fort mason followed, then a bigger-than-life sculpture of a formerly alive congressman, then a very steep stretch of hyde street. truthfully, i didn't want the fun part of this day to end, and now i noticed it was going by too quickly (full disclosure: hyde street went by much slower, and was slightly less enjoyable). left on sutter, back to the hotel. done. eight miles in all. 

but wait! there's more! there was the next day, with a whole 'nother serving of run-a-roni ~ seven warm, sunny miles along the embarcadero. when we lived there, this corridor was part of the 480 freeway, blighted by an elevated double-decker traffic monster. now it's a wide, open avenue along the waterfront, a great place for human traffic.

to sum up: two exquisite days, 15.2 miles, deep satisfaction. no earthquakes.

also, much-needed therapy for the soul: no extra charge.


i'm on my feet and moving...


Dolly said...

Matt has an earthquake app on his phone that buzzes every time there's an earthquake somewhere in the world. Who knows why he has it, but yesterday it went off. There was a 6 point something in Guatemala, about 250 miles from where we'll be on Friday in Belize. Hoping and praying oir week will be earthquake-free. One thing's for sure, though: we will NOT rely on weather dot com. :)

spaceneedl said...

leave it to matt to rock the latest esoteric app. is there a history of seismic activity in belize? shirley none would be allowed to interrupt your well-earned vacation.

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