Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Sigh

I'm home. I got off the train from Newark Liberty Airport at 7:30 this morning, shlepped my luggage up to 7th Avenue, and was instantly and comfortingly at home again. It's like a huge ball of tension I had not realized I was carrying just...melted. And I finally figured it out: San Francisco is a terrific city; it is beautiful, and there is much to love. But at this point I still feel like...how to put this? You ever have to entertain your grandmother's friends when you were a kid? Sitting up straight, balancing a cup and saucer in your lap and being careful about your replies because you don't want to reflect poorly on Grannie? That's the way I feel in San Francisco. So here, one more anonymous person shlepping a rolly-suitcase and computer bag, I could literally feel myself expand.

A couple of things I noticed. I'd forgotten all the fruit vendors at the corners, ready to sell you a banana or a dozen pears or a pineapple. You don't see that in SF--it's either Safeway or the Farmer's Market (Farmer's Market produce is undoubtedly better than the stuff sold on street corners, but the on-your-way-to-work convenience of grabbing an apple or banana is a very mass-transit-and-walking-culter sort of thing. Musicians in the subway; BART doesn't have 'em. Sometimes in the halls of the underground, yes. But the wonderful flautist who came on at 79th Street and played Mozart to 66th Street does not have an opposite number in BART. Finally: every subway car I was in today had ads for English language tutoring. "Aprende Ingles Ahora!" Oddly, despite the huge immigrant population in San Francisco, I can't remember the last ad I saw for English language tutoring. Not to say it's out there, but it's certainly not a saturation ad. I'm still thinking about all this, trying to figure what it all means.

5 Comments:

Blogger Megan Frampton said...

Welcome back. SF is a great city--not New York, but great, definitely cleaner--and it feels as close to NYC as one can get anywhere other than NYC itself. I love buying fruit from street vendors, too.

4:25 PM  
Blogger Madeleine Robins said...

This afternoon as I was walking down the street (from 88th and Broadway to 42nd and Sixth) I passed a guy lounging against the wall. "That looks like a happy face," he said. "It is a happy face!" I answered, and walked on.

5:58 PM  
Blogger C. F. Blog said...

Are you in NY to turn in Sarah T's new adventure by chance?

7:22 AM  
Blogger TwosTools said...

Welcome Home.

We know how tough it can be trying to see everyone and I'm sure your schedule is packed. So, without any guilt, if you were to have a free moment at some point we'd love to catch a drink or a meal or sumpin.

We're pretty flexible. Just give a ring if it works. If not, we'll catch you Bayside.

e (& s) of the sTools

10:36 AM  
Blogger Madeleine Robins said...

Home again. Alas, I did not get to see S&E of the Stools (by the time I got to read their post I was already home in SF). And no, I didn't turn in the new ST, because I'm still working on it. I did have a very useful chat with my editor, and one with my agent. I also gave a talk about my "career" at my Dad's retirement community, which seemed to go very well--the burden of my song being, essentially, that I never meant to have a career as a writer, that I had no fiendish master plan, and look what has happened.

And so, laundry, and fall over.

9:54 PM  

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