The city of San Francisco was fondly called “the city” by both natives and wannabe natives (like myself).
As we travelled around the city, we would point and marvel at the blue sky that clearly defined a eucalyptus-tinged aroma mixed with sweat and hot pavement. The feel of that city resonates still.
I can imagine myself in West Portal, gazing at a red-headed girl who was waiting for Metro Muni, waiting for my mother to emerge from yet another furniture store with a much needed lampshade. The smell of Twin Peaks, after climbing up the steep bank to capture the city in one breath. The smell of burnt brakes from the cable car melted with the fragrant ducks, hanging in stores throughout Grant. Watching men pee on sidewalks or others who lovingly called to each other, from across the streets.
You could walk anywhere in that city and we did. Young and wise, in order to get over a heartbreak, I once traversed from work in Ghiradelli Square down to the Ferry Building, up Market to Divisadero, to Haight and then home. All thoughts of him at the beginning turned into a refreshing start for me at the end. I was pooped.
Moving into the city with a fresh book titled, Dragon Wings, we leapt into a life that thrived with culture, talent, and humor. One could make friends quickly in the city and we did. My parents always the hosts, began inviting people over for elaborate dinners that my mom concocted with recipes from a local cookbook.
Life was alive in the city. Movement, energy, the ocean, the bums, a spare sax playing somewhere, noted the ambiance that I remember well. Those senses, thoughts, and feelings bring out an identification with a city that is miles away. It was the city I loved.