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San Francisco Day

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I should write in a more interesting style, because my style bores me.

I expend a lot of energy, trying not to be bored. Sometimes I do it in questionable ways – like eating a burrito right before I go to sleep. As I learned from the movie Gremlins, eating at night is a bad idea, not because it will turn you into an animatronic 80’s horror puppet, but because you don’t need 1,000 calories as you’re drifting off to sleep. It’s hard enough to not be flabby with all this beer and tasty food around us, without midnight burritos to offset the scale.

It’s the 4th of July. Happy Birthday, America! It’s sweet to celebrate your country, once a year, wherever you are on our global map. Today, for us central to northern nortemericanos, is it. I’m going to a BBQ later.

America will always be much too large and unruly for me to ever get a real grip on, but it’s big, I live here, and I enjoy a good standard of living in this country. Even for a guy like Barack Obama, I wonder – in his heart of heart, does he understand this country? Does anybody?

I hope for the best for America, whatever that may mean.

I’m supposed to be working on some Github repos but I’m getting a slow start. Saturdays are for slow starts, but I want every minute to count. Even for a fully realized master, it must be hard work to make every minute count. Of course I don’t – I don’t have that kind of discipline. I try, in my way. I came to San Francisco to trade, in a certain sense (yes, I’m being sincere here) personal happiness for the ability to work comprehensively and master myself. I am the application of my work.

I’m here for it; I am open. I humbly ask for help in this. I can be found on the map shown above, to scale at atomic size. We are all so small, so very, very small, and yet, if you prick us, do we not think of that line in the Merchant of Venice?

Sitting in a coffeehouse here in SF, it’s amazing that I’ve resisted this for so long – until midway through my 3rd decade. At long last, ich bin ein hipster: I live in San Francisco, I shop thriftily, I spend a lot of money on fresh produce (half-rotten, it’s cheaper) and I recently bought a straight razor so I can cultivate my beard (then decided not to use it, as I prefer disposables).

I’m all in on this one, but I try to keep it under control. I went to FSC Barber two days in a row to get a $40 haircut, and when I got turned away the second time, I thought, what the hell – I could pay a regular cutter 2x and get 2x cut for 1/2 the price. If I go there, am I taking fair wages away from a lower-paid cutter, or am I, on the other hand, actually paying what the other cutters should make? Is my gentrifying dollar being ethical?

I like how, here, there’s not that relentless downward pressure caused by trying to buy the world at Wal-Mart prices. People have to eat, yes, but more than that, over and beyond that, they’re entitled to feel like they can live a little, like they can eat out tonight or throw a party and not break the bank. And they have to make money for that, more than minimum wage; and yet, at a certain point their dollars start to crowd out and even complicate relationships of the people even lower than them, who are arguably also entitled. In SF, more people can claim a piece, but even that may not be enough to really put our consciences at ease, to justify a wasteful life. Be good. Do your best. That’s enough.

I still have to stop by FSC to get the straight razor  they sharpened for me. I’m not practicing my strokes on a balloon (lol, this is actually a recommended practice), but I’m gonna be real careful to not cut myself up. Real careful!

I spoke to a friend this morning, one of the college friends from UT-Austin I seem to be connecting to in this month of memories. We talked about going to flying to Hawaii from the West Coast, where it’s ‘cheap.’ Hawaii is the last redoubt of pristine beachfront; all the other places get polluted by nasty tourist dollars. I’m sympathetic because I lived in Florida and I remember those bottom-of-the-barrel tourist home-wreckers – home, in the sense of a region you just wanted to be basically decent. But they’d come in with their dumb money, buying tacky t-shirts with cleavage and hurrrrr drug humor and tongue-in-cheek profanity in bright neon letters, and you’d think, I’m not normally a culture policeman, but this time, I’ll make an exception. Get. Out. Go to your communities and have some class there, like I know you normally do; your trinket money and terrible souveneirs are cheapening us all.

BART is on strike, which is kind of limiting my ability to be mobile, but not that much, because if I’m going to a BBQ in a couple hours, it’s only sensible to stay here. But I want to be mobile! I want San Francisco to be my oyster, and theoretically at least, that isn’t possible when the foot car distances are uncrossable. So I stay at my table at the Haus coffeeshop (I thought it was Ritual, but they just serve Ritual coffee; they’re really named Haus, and have the nicely stamped compostable cups to prove it). I type, clackety-clack, my beautiful thoughts for the world to read; yet my time is fleeting, and I should really do something on Github – anything to overcome that initial, toe-in-the-water resistance.

You know what I love about San Francisco? (For certain weak values of love). How being an artist is treated honorably here. I love that people can start crazy shops like the Fizzicary, a place dedicated to fizzy carbonated non-alcoholic drinks, and survive. At night, that thought cheers me. Even the blue-collar workers who staff BART can negotiate, and make progress towards their goals. And despite the inconvenience, that has its positive side.

Enjoy this beautiful piece of Jasper Johns’ Americana on this 4th of July, named, in fact – did you know? – in honor of my namesake (if you go back far enough), Julius Caesar.

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