Tag Archives: comfort

Feels like San Francisco to Me

Photo credit: torbakhopper, flickr

Photo credit: torbakhopper, flickr

I want to talk about Tuesday, when I was walking to a party. It was a nice night, a clear one with a couple of stars poking through. The deep blue black of the night here always reminds me of frosting for some reason, like I could dip my finger into it and taste it.

So it was a frosting color sky and I was walking somewhere in the Upper or Lower Haight, where the houses are so beautiful they make you want to barf and I was walking with my layers on – at least two or three for posterity, and I was strapped into my backpack – as one needs to be because otherwise there’s no guarantee your backpack couldn’t just fall right off – and I was wearing my tennies because those are my street shoes and play shoes and everything was normal.

Maybe I took a deep breath, or maybe I looked across the street and saw a cool tree or maybe the ghost of ET possessed my body for a second and imparted the secrets of the universe to me. I don’t know what happened exactly but all of the sudden, it hit me. I felt like I was in San Francisco.

So many times throughout the day/week/year/millisecond, I’m reminded of different times and places. That breeze makes me feel like Boston. These houses seem like they’re from LA. This hamburger reminds me of that one hamburger I had that one time that was really good in Chicago at that one place.

But this moment was the first time I’d related a certain temperature, sky, and house set-up back to San Francisco itself as opposed to somewhere else. It was cool.

It made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside like somehow I know this place and its frosting sky and they know me too and I could wrap myself up in that sky like a big blanket and go to sleep on Ocean Beach and then watch the city get lit up from the other side in the morning since we’re on the West Coast in case you forgot. And I can mix metaphors like I don’t even care. Frosting, blanket, fishnet stockings – who cares what you call the sky? Not San Francisco.

And as I’m writing this, I’m realizing that maybe what I really wanted to talk about is how I want to be an astronaut and go into space and taste the sky. Is it frosting? If so, what kind – is it like a cream cheese, or a royal, or a ganache? And what’s under the frosting? Are black holes really some kind of molten chocolate pit, because that sounds pretty awesome especially with the possibility of time travel thrown in there.

But no matter where I end up, be it in an infinite spiral of swirling buttercream or wandering somewhere in Upper or Lower Haight, I know I’ll have that feeling of San Francisco sitting on the shelf of my mind in its mason jar, ready to be whipped out when it’s time to reminisce in the next city.

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I’m not sorry

Grocery shopping can be an adventure, and Lord knows I do love a good adventure. But sometimes, I just want to know

They look like this--perhaps you've seen them

what to expect and know where it will be and that no one will shove me in the process of obtaining the good that I want and that I won’t have to touch anyone else either. Sometimes, it’s nice to know that there will be music and air conditioning instead of car horns and exhaust, price tags instead of repeating endlessly  “how much does this cost?”

This is what supermarkets in Egypt are for.  A relatively new phenomena, there are many different supermarket chains,  not unusual for a city of 20 million people, and for the most part they are not much different from ones in America except generally they’re not Wal-mart size and might be a little bit more crowded and/or have peculiar scents. Out of all the ones I’ve visited here so far, Alpha market is by far my favorite as well as the most expensive. Whereas you’d be hard pressed to spend 50 pounds anywhere else (almost), at Alpha, you could drop a 200 and not even blink. However, Alpha is also free from crowds, has wide spacious aisles, and generous selections of everything from tea cookies to different brands of chocolate hazelnut spread. You know you’re part of the upper class when you buy your brown bread at Alpha.

Despite the fact I feel slightly guilty at times when going to Alpha simply because I know it is kind of a cop out on the whole “Egyptian” experience, I have to say that I’m not sorry. There are plenty Egyptians who frequent the store seeking the same calm and air conditioning I seek, as well as the freedom from offensive scents, and let’s be real—my monthly stipend of 3200 Egyptian pounds is twice (maybe more) what a taxi driver makes in the same amount of time. I’m not embracing elitism/classism, but I’m not going to deny there are differences in the amount of money people live off of and I’m not going to guilt trip myself into giving up tasting every single kind of tea biscuit there is in Egypt, all available to peruse at leisure in Alpha Market.

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