The Dreamgirls and Conversely, Me

I saw a pair of dreamgirls the the other day. Both of them were thin, probably about 27, with slightly dirty, messy strawberry blonde hair pulled up into top knots, with large, shiny geometric bright hammered brass and wood earrings. They each had one or two small hair clips with abalone inlay embedded in their hairdos, and they each had on dark blue denim skinny pants that looked impeccable and expensive. The one that was slightly prettier with extremely clear skin had on a gauzy top with different pink shades in a painterly design, with a similarly gauzy bright yellow scarf coiled around her neck like attractive plumage. The other girl was slightly less pretty but made up for it with tasteful ornamentation-- two-toned oxfords instead of plain brown, one extra bead in the earrings, a few extra patterned textiles sewn into the hems of her garments. Her cozy looking boxy sweater was the exact same shade of yellow as the first girl's scarf. They sat at Philz chatting for awhile before mounting two bikes that were twins in their nondescriptness and rode slowly down Folsom, best friends.

Everywhere in San Francisco there are dreamgirls, with coils of ropey hair up in top knots or cascading down alpaca-sweatered shoulders, with long legs emerging from perfectly worn leather shoes, striding gazelle-like down these chewing-gum and spit cobbled streets towards lives of almost yogic aesthetic harmony, or, at least, towards bay window apartments filled with healthy succulents and sun-faded tapestries and Ouspensky books. Do they even suspect that they are the dreamgirls?

Of course I'm wildly insecure and I'm going through one of my dumpy, androgynous (but not in a provocative way) phases in my 13 year long adolescence, replete with a growing-out short haircut that now resembles a toupee designed to mimic the look of your dad in 1986 and pants that are in all ways circumspect, so the constant presence of attractive people leads me to make dangerous and foolish self-comparisons. Comparing, as I have learned from years and years of doing it, is synonymous with coming up short, and try as I may to learn that my self esteem and acceptance has to come from within it is proving to be a very hard lesson to learn.

It is a lesson I should have learned when I watched that modernized ugly duckling cartoon when I was faking sick at age 7. Nickelodeon took the character outside the traditional world of Hans Christian Andersen, where the animated duckling winds up on an adventure with a fast-talking wolf or fox in some kind of traveling medicine show/biker gang atmosphere. I don't remember if he even changes into a swan in the end. the point of the movie, from what I could gather at that tender age, was not an eventual payoff of finally attaining physical beauty after years of painful ugliness, but the journey towards self value. At an early point in the film (when our hero is yet to be convinced of his self worth) at the fox's suggestion the duckling sings in a plaintive tone, "I like myself, I like myself. I want you to know, I like myself." So I feel like this stage of self development for me is very much akin to the cartoon duck's at that point-- I'm kind of half-heartedly muttering self affirmations while still secretly waiting for that beautiful swan payoff that never comes! But hell, if that duck can learn to like himself (at least I think that's what happens) then there's no reason I can't!

Look out SF, I'm going to start leaving the house soon!


The Call of Nature and The Call to Serve

Back in 2005 I needed badly to use a restroom on a day trip to San Francisco. Naive as I was, I thought nothing of using one of those cylindrical, self-cleaning public pay toilets downtown. Upon inserting my quarter, such unspeakable horrors of humanity greeted my stunned senses that I ran out, unrelieved, and refused to even speak of what I saw for years afterwards. Let's just say the self-cleaning mechanism malfunctioned and either one person or many people and one blind, violently ill bear retaliated by leaving steaming mounds of liquefied fecal matter in all kinds of places in addition to the overflowing toilet, and that's the least troubling thing I noticed.

More recently, a lengthy battle with moderate constipation (and an unhealthy desire to talk about it constantly to whoever will listen) made finding comfortable public places to poop an issue of utmost importance (and a refreshingly frank icebreaker!)

With these distressing incidences now behind me, I want to unveil my latest (only known recorded) effort at helping my fellow man: a google map of places in San Francisco with comfortable public restrooms, conducive to "letting it rip." Consider this an open call for all you folks who are familiar with the area to contribute your favorite places to the map. Maybe if people had better knowledge of the adequate restrooms available, they'd be less inclined to defecate on every square inch of sidewalk in my neighborhood. Wishful thinking?

How I Wound Up in San Francisco

I am guilty of integrating the lyrics to popular oldies into an already illogical philosophy of life where anything "romantic" takes precedence over everything else, including my own best interest. A pivotal song has been Glady's Knight and the Pipps' "Midnight Train to Georgia," specifically the line, "I'd rather live in his world than be without him in mine," which I recognized immediately as an applicable truth, and has formed the deranged nucleus of every decision I've made for the last 6 months or more.