Is there an app for that? Probably. It is the bay.
After Berkeley I spent a day in Oakland, which is famous for being home to… the cutest gravesite ever. I love finding hand written letters on the ground, or notes scribbled into the margins of a used book, any piece of information that gives me a quick insight into another person’s life- and that’s how I feel about this grave. I try to pass off this fancy as part of my anthropological/sociological outlook, but actually it’s just because I’m nosy. And really, what sort of a sociologist would I be if I wasn’t nosy?
I’m imagining Mr. and Mrs. Wong going to McDonalds every morning and people-watching over coffee and apricots. Their love was one of those ancient types of love where the husband dies a few days after the wife because he just can’t bear life without her. Or maybe they hated each other and they used to go for coffee and apricots but separately, and their kids try to unite them in the afterlife. Well, there’s one more argument for donating my body to science.
On my fourth day in the bay I finally headed out to San Francisco. I knew that my time spent with my friend Daniel would not be the typical SF tourist experience, so I tried (and failed) to get in the main attractions while he was still at work. My first stop was Ghirardelli Square, which I felt awful about going to. It’s a complete Disney-fication project to corporatize and mainstream SF’s waterfront. But the area has been written about extensively in urban sociology, so I had to see it for myself. Then I moved on to Fisherman’s wharf, which is its own special kind of hell. After trekking up some legendary San Francisco hills I texted my friend David, who had lived in the area for a few years, and inquired about where to get the perfect burrito. Twenty minutes later I was sitting Dolores Park, just like every other hipster in the Mission, and food-gasming over this burrito. San Diego and LA have nothing on a mission burrito! I wish I could communicate how much I loved this $7 (with chips!) mass of food. Unfortunately I could only finish half of it, but the other half made a Mission bum very happy.
And then I spent 2.5 days with the good doctor, Daniel. Highway driving, great music, and lots of giggling. Daniel lives in the original Couchsurfing headquarters and being there felt a hell of a lot more powerful than the Vatican did. The “hive” has a lot of outdoor space- I did pilates, outside, at the former couchsurfing headquarters. That’s pretty much nirvana for me.
After only a year in SF Daniel has become very well connected among hippies and drug activists; so connected that he was invited to celebrate the 4th at the house of a 1970s psychedelic god. The dude is in his eighties now but his lab (a shack next to his house) is still fully functional, although the party was strictly clean thanks to his paranoid son. The most dangerous thing at that party was rosemary, which I consumed, and then had a reaction to and missed all the pretty fireworks that I had been waiting for. Awesome.
My last day in San Francisco was actually spent in Santa Cruz, which is full of more dirty hippies and a whole lot of restrictions that the town seemingly makes up and tapes over at whim.
Oh, Santa Cruz. The random rules, the crazy drivers, the beach, the Hawaiian restaurant- it was the perfect day trip to experience all of California’s wonderful stereotypes. Aside from the chilly summers, the bay is totally where I need to be. Now just to convince the sociology department at UC Berkeley…