BACK IN CALI
The fog is lifting. The big Coit Tower phallus is poking up through a thick, white, morning blanket of mist. If I crane my neck, while leaning over my third floor balcony at the Columbus Motor Inn, I can see it clearly. A homeless person is leaning against the brick wall of the building across the street, taking a leak. SF treats its homeless as good (or better) than PETA looks after the furry creatures of the world. Some are crackheads, skeeze balls, skanks and faceless ass sniffers....from way back. Down on their luck, dirty, bleary-eyed and angry, some are just poor lost souls. But they are all free range. Here in this magic city bed rolls on cardboard are stashed neatly in corners, under trees and right on the side walk. No one fucks with them. The homeless are as welcome as the seals and the parrots, just one of the many tourist attractions SF offers.
I've come to SF to deliver a lecture as part of The San Francisco Art Institute's Graduate Lecture Series. I've done this gig before, but not since 2001, right before the towers went down. A lot has happened in 13 years. As luck would have it I flew out on Thurs.- 9/11. Aside from some seat changing, no food and a woman traveling with 2 screaming infants, two seats away, it was a non-eventful flight. Three hours in, with those red faced little darlings screeching at the top of their lungs, I prayed for an ISIS executioner.
I don't miss living in NYC. I can go in any time i want, but don't. But, damn if i don't miss SF. This place has a vibe all its own. I lived here from 1975- 1983. It was a way different town back then, but so was every place. I only know a couple of people here now, but with the Art Institute as a base, i know within a couple of weeks I could have a completely new community. It's easy here. Sure, it's a little heavy on Burning Man types, dot coms and pot bellied tourists, but all in all, I think I could come back.
Yesterday's lecture went great. I filled the lecture hall and only lost one or two all the way through an hour long power point. This was after my host El Prof. looked at my 18 pages of text, huffed indignantly and told me to read fast. That's just what someone wants to hear when trying to relax before a talk. What the fuck? Did he have an appointment at Kinky.com? I tried to ignore his tight timeline, and eased into a presentation that started in 1965 with the Cardiff Giant. Fuck. Maybe I was gonna drone on for too long. My mouth went dry and i started to sweat. Easy- I told myself. You got this.
In the end the talk was a success. The students dug it. The faculty shook my hand and even El Prof. had to admit I had done good. Nailed it! Fist bump. Now i have a week in SF and an open schedule. Maybe I'll catch a game in Oakland, or do a couple of more studio visits with students, or drive El Prof.'s golf cart while he chips a few. It's great to be back. Smell that air! If they only had good deer hunting......