Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A Black Sword, The Stein's, and Trolley Cars

Day 4 of The Black Sword in the City of Saint Francis

The day has consisted of mostly being with my friend Dena and Eric’s mother Dorothy. Eric is working this week, of course, and so he leaves before we wake up. So today we lounged until about 9:15 and decided we’d go get breakfast and then head out to the SF MOMA to see the Stein’s Collection Exhibit.

The standard good place to get breakfast is the little breakfast shop on the corner of Divisidero and Fulton is Eddie’s which serves breakfast all day. Coffee, juice, and eggs and pancakes with good conversation is such a nice way to start the day. Dorothy is 81 and so, even though she’s in great shape for her age, we need to plan where we’re going to go and be careful of how many hills we might need to climb (I should be doing so well at 81 if I live that long). We get done and head up the street to catch the #5 Line to Market Street and 3rd Street so we can walk on down to the MOMA.

We chit-chat on the way up to the bus stop. Dena is such a kick to have around and I sure as hell hope I can be good enough to keep Dorothy’s sense of humor when I get to be her age. When we finally get to the bus, it’s kinda crowded but we stand for a while then finally get Dorothy a seat. Eventually we all get to sit down as people come and go off the bus. There’s this one point where Dena seems to have lost her mind as she is making the weirdest faces. Then I see that a little girl in a stroller is making faces back at her and just having a blast. When we round the corner onto Market, we get off a little early at the corner of 4th and Market and slowly walk to the MOMA. Yesterday has not been kind to my legs and feet and I’m still feeling the adventure in the Richmond District. As a friend I know might have said,”Boy! The dogs are still barkin’...” and as we keep walking the barkin’ keeps getting louder. Ouch. For those who have lived all their lives in San Francisco, I have no doubt that they are just plain used to this kind of constant physical exercise. But coming from a town where the car reigns supreme, the pedestrian calisthenics that the streets and hills of San Francisco can put you through have just about done me in yesterday and today.

We get to the MOMA, get tickets, and go straight to the 5th floor. We take a look at the exhibit there on the Last 10 years of Modern Art and part of it has this exhibit of sonic sculpture called Sonic Shadows that is just fascinating. Dena and I stand in the middle of the exhibit and close our eyes and are treated to this sonic experience of white sound and oddly melodic noise that zips past us on our left, then right, then above, the left.... and it’s a really cool effect.

We finish the 5th floor, take the elevator down to the 4th, and give our tickets for the Stein Collection. It’s crowded even for a week day and we slowly make our way through the exhibit. The Matisse and Picasso work along wit some other lesser know artists is incredible. I must admit both some admiration and a touch of disappointment at both the Matisse and Picasso selections but I chalk that up to having seen a number of those along with other artists in Paris so any disappointment is just temporary.

The tour takes almost 2 1/2 hours and by the end my feet and legs are screaming at me to sit down again. We exit the MOMA and head back to catch the F-Line to allow us to get Dena’s jeep which Karen has let her park at her condo’s parking garage. The F-Line is a trolley line which is occupied with trolleys from San Francisco’s and other city’s past. We get on an island egress terminal in the middle of Market and here comes a blue and gold 1940’s Sand Francisco trolley. Cool.... but it’s packed to the gills with tourists. Oh great. Somehow we squeeze on and Dorothy finds a seat. We’re set.

Like the modern bus rides, people are squeezing on and off and we get a seat as it curves from Market to the Embarcadero and finally we get off at Sansone and Chestnut, walk to Karen’s condo garage and get ourselves in the jeep. A quick ride later and we’re parked and back at E.F.’s place in the Western Edition. A brief refresher and we’re once again on our way to an enclave at the end of the Western Edition called Hayes Valley. Basically, where Hayes and Gough streets intersect is this wonderful collection of shops and restaurants. We bop around there for another couple of hours where I pick up a cool set of antique cufflinks for a decent price and then drag ( no exaggeration this time) back to E.F.’s place. No sooner do we settle down then he comes home and the decision is made to go out for dinner while we all have any strength left. We trudge to the Japan Center for some outstanding ramen soups at Suzu’s Soups in the Kinokuniya Bulding at the end of the Center.

The conversation is light and playful as usual with our company.... but we’re tired and the Saki is flowing so it’s slow going home. We stop for ice cream for dessert ( Dryer’s Green Tea for me... yummm) and finally walk inside the door with only one thing on most everybody’s mind; go to bed. And that friends is pretty much the way the day has ended with me the last man standing and writing to you while stealing a neighbor’s internet and getting the last pictures off the SIM card from the digital camera. Enjoy the pictures and I’ll be writing to you tomorrow after I figure out where I’m off to next. Later.

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