In San Francisco for a couple of days researching the new book. I’m reluctant to say much about that, as I don’t want to give away anything that might not actually end up in the book, as at this point, it’s all fair game.
This is an astoundingly beautiful city. This morning I rode the cable car up California street from Market Street to Van Ness, which takes you right over Nob Hill through China Town and North Beach. There was an amazing view at every intersection, and the Bay Bridge peaking over your shoulder the whole way.
Like many cities, there are neighborhoods here where you don’t want to be when the sun goes down, and some seem scarier to me than they probably actually are because I’m not accustomed to city life, but there is no end to the goofy shit this city has to offer. Yesterday I saw a guy talking to an orange. Later I went into Sharper Image where three old Chinese ladies were sitting in a row of multi-colored massage chairs, eyes closed, looking at once like three Buddahs blissed out under the vibrating Bodhi tree — well, except for the handbags they had clutched white-knuckled to their chests. I watched a homeless couple have a huge arguement in the park, with him dragging her off a bench to come lay on the ground with him (evidently it was a good spot, although I couldn’t tell you why) then her stomping off, then him following her, making all kinds of apologetic gestures (I was too far away to hear them) and I wondered, “Is it a domestic dispute if there is no domicile? And if things get better, and they get a place with a couch, will she make him sleep on it?
Then there was this store in the Mission district next to 826 Valencia, which is Dave Eggers’ Pirate Supply store, which features dead animal art. I particularly liked the dead mice dressed in tutus. I think this place is going to make it into the book. Three doors down from there is Borderlands, a Sci-Fi bookstore. I stopped in to say hi to Ripley the hairless cat, but she was hiding because they had put drops in her ears and she felt betrayed, so I said hi to Carry, the events dirctor at Borderlands who is more talkative than Ripley and has more hair. I’m not sure how her ears are doing, but she always carries a number of large, edged weapons, so if you need a CD opened or something, Carry is your woman.
I bought a sweatshirt at a thrift store for six bucks (because I’m climatized to Hawaii and I’m freezing my ass off here, that’s why) then took the 47 bus out of the Mission District before it got dark. One of the problems with everyone dressing like gang-bangers is that everyone dresses like gang-bangers. I’m not going to do a survey to find out if they need to bust a nine in my old white ass in order to get their gang ink. KnowwhatI’msayin?
There’s a restaurant by my hotel that serves Chinese food, has high-speed wireless internet, and will go get you movie tickets at the cineplex next door while you eat. And check it out, $15.95, movie included. I saw The Day After Tomorrow, which was pretty far fetch because the Dick Cheney character actually admits that he made a mistake at the end, and Harry Potter and Prisoner of Akaban, which was fun. I’m not the Harry Potter fan that a lot of you guys are, but I would like to have my house decorated in Hogwarts Modern. The movie looked really, really cool. This is the first one I’ve seen on the big screen and I have to admit that it made a difference. That said, it’s sort of long and scary for little kids. I’m not sure I’d take a little kid to see it.
I’m in the city for five more days. I’ll report in soon.