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July 6, 2016

Day 4 - Wednesday(7/6) - Forged in the Fog - Caffe Trieste

This morning, Mark drags me out of bed and we walk down the street to Cafe Trieste for coffee. I never really understood his infatuation with this place, until I realized that he lives on Vallejo, and this is just a short walk to the bottom of the hill for him. It's just off Columbus, at the bottom of the hill, in North Beach.

On the way down the hill, we pass a building on the corner that is abandoned. It has no tenants. No businesses. It's just closed. And has been for 10 years.

"This really bothers me..." Mark offers.

"Por que?"

"Because...it's been closed for 10 years. They could have something here. Anything"...his voice trails off into the fog.

Slowly, it dawns on me...this is truly one of the few flaws of capitalism. Now, it's worlds better than socialism, which is what every hippy degenerate truly yearns for in their core, but this is a valid point. There's absolutely no excuse for having this building vacant in downtown San Francisco. It's worth millions of dollars, and someone, somewhere, so rich, is just sitting on it, and doing nothing with it.

I remember this from when I lived here last time. Entire city blocks, or large portions of them, are totally undeveloped. And there can be no justification for this, except as a true flaw in capitalism.

So now, we get some coffee and sit outside. I try to pay, but he won't let me of course.

Now, we're sitting outside in the cool mountain fog, and these homeless people come up and start talking to us. Tattered clothes. Frayed pants. Shoes worn down to nothing. Long beards. The quintessential hippie, beatnik, homeless look we've all seen.

Only now, they start talking, and they're talking about Jack Kerouac, the beatniks, Thoreau. Like...these guys know more about history than any people I've ever talked to. Now, the conversation turns, and they're talking about the baseball game last night.

Momo was just in Eugene and makes a living selling his art, somehow.

This is a favorite haunt of Epic Beard Man.

And, this is how it goes every morning. Every morning, they walk down here and drink coffee like clockwork and North Beach is their living room. It's so beautiful to see these friendships, forged in the fogs of North Beach.

There is a mural I looked for yesterday, but couldn't find. And, what's odd is that I have this photo in my downstairs bathroom....it's a mural of a screaming black man pointing a gun...and I can't find it. I feel like I need to find this mural before I leave the city. That maybe it will be the one mural that really can tell me whether San Francisco is getting better or worse. Whether gentrification has truly taken root, or whether there's hope for this city.

I text Jody and ask her to send me a photo of the mural. She sends the mural, and it clearly says on it 135 Buxome Street.

I want to take photographs, and I have my camera, but I'm not a photographer. A true photographer would be getting pictures. But I just sort of listen, surfing on their shoulders. Taking it all in. Wondering what is lost by living alone in the mountains of Colorado.

Why have i so perfectly secluded myself from society? For what reason did I feel compelled to do this?

There must have been some reason. There must have been some genesis. Some impulse that led me to conclude that the life of Ted Kazinsky must have been something admirable. Something worth emulating.

But now a caterpillar/front-end-loader pulls up out front, and they start tearing holes in the street. Everyone goes inside, but as soon as I sit down, they start playing some horrible jazz music,

The line is getting longer. The restaurant is getting louder. Maybe it would be better outside.

The table next to me has about a dozen middle-eastern men laughing and talking. I ask them where they're from. They're from North Africa, and they're all celebrating the first time they've eating in daylight for a month...it's the end of Ramadan, apparently.

At first, I eye them suspiciously. Why are there no women here? They probably abuse women and treat them like dogs, but then a woman comes in wearing a scarf and carrying a Fred Perry handbag with a daughter. All of the men stand up and greet them warmly. The woman, her daughter, a small boy. Much camaraderie. These people aren't terrorists. I just can't believe that. I can't go there.

Now, I'll leave for 135 Buxome Street, and another day of cruising around San Francisco.

Posted by Rob Kiser on July 6, 2016 at 9:54 AM


How about another chat with the Donut Lady. I want to know what's up. :-) Love you alone in Colorado or streaking through the desert. Perfect!

Posted by: sl on July 6, 2016 at 12:10 PM

Who is the donut lady?

Posted by: Rob Kiser Author Profile Page on July 7, 2016 at 2:15 AM

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