Thursday, October 23rd, 2008

Stone eagerly anticipates my arrival.  For years, I’ve functioned as his lucky charm.  We’ve travelled much of the world together and during those adventures he’s had consistent fortune sampling the local flavors.  I highly doubt my assistance in his success but he still claims me as his greatest wing man.  Stone has been on a bit of a dry spell over the last few months… he believes his trusty wing man will help him end the drought.  He picked my up at the airport and we embarked on yet another adventure.

I’m from Northern California originally – born in the Bay Area and raised two hours east of the Golden Gate.  “The City” is not unfamiliar to me.  To hear me speak of San Francisco, however, is to hear me grumble over its many intricacies.  Part of this one-month experiment is to test those challenges firsthand.  The other part is to spend time with a world-class group of friends who I see rarely and miss terribly.

My consistent complaints emphasize the unfortunate nature of San Francisco’s living quarters, terrible traffic, non-existent parking, crummy weather, ridiculous cost of living, and incesent hills.  Content residents of the city believe these factors to be charming little nuansances.  I’m going to test this reality.

Several months ago I distributed an email to my friends in SF expressing a vague interest in subletting a furnished apartment for a month.  I expected little response and assumed my request would receive the token acknowledgement that I had made a legitamite attempt to “try out the city.”  Three minutes later I got an email back.  The perfect place was available in the perfect part of town at the perfect time.

After a quick dinner, Stone took me to my new home on the border of Russian Hill and Pacific Heights.  My host leaves for Africa tomorrow and won’t be back until early January.  She is happy to have a friend-of-a-friend stay in her place and pick up her rent.  I am happy to have a view of the bay from my living room and that I can walk to some of my favorite parts of SF.

The studio is perfectly San Francisco.  Old walls with no outlets, creeking floors, antique fixtures and windows that have been painted shut for generations.  My host is concerned that the studio is too small but anything else would’ve misrepresented the charming nuassances of the city.  There’s a small kitchen with just a few pots and a collection of various utensils, plates and cups that were likely handed down.  The bathroom is just large enough to swing open the door and step into the shower (I’ve been instructed to leave the bathroom window open at all times and I soon learn why).  A queen size bed occupies half of the livingroom which is equally cut by a small couch, bookshelf and desk facing the busy world outside.  Downstairs there’s a garage and a few washer/dryers.

After my tour, I collected a set of keys and Stone and I headed back to his apartment.  My host spent one more night in her San Francisco apartment before I moved in the following day.