I worked Christmas Eve day. When my black lab Edie was injured this summer and I wasn’t walking her before going to work, I altered my commute to take walks from San Francisco’s Financial District down to the Civic Center. I like walking through Union Square early, before it gets crowded, and endure walking through the Tenderloin before getting to work.
Christmas Eve morning was calm, but overcast and cool – perhaps in the mid 40’s. Definitely jacket weather. I walked westbound down Post street and as I crossed Stockton into the Square a very thin young woman in tall boots, hot pants, a multi-colored riot of a vest and nothing more crossed southbound in front of me. More skin than clothing and little more than a cup of coffee in her left hand and a cigarette in her right to keep her warm.
Intrigued in both a normal and typical male fashion, I paralleled her path on the west side of Stockton, about twenty yards behind, and heard her laughter as passersby stared, raising her arms in the air and wriggling a little dance. When she turned west down Geary I saw her face; she looked like she might be southeast Asian. In front of Macy’s I saw three young people pause, one of them pulling out a camera to take her picture. Okay, I thought of pulling out my cell phone, and taking her picture too, but it didn’t seem worth breaking my pace and besides, I’m trying not to run too prurient a blog here. (And I’m obviously not posting often enough to evince a concern with keeping the stats up.)
But in hindsight, it might have made an interesting addition. And speaking of hindsight, I looked back and saw her posing and laughing for the young photographer, so clearly she wasn’t publicity shy.
Immediately after that I saw light dustings of snow coming down from the roof of Lefty O’Doul’s. I crossed Powell into quite a crowd of people – all there for the snow machine? I thought of all the snow in the northeastern third of the country and how happy they might be to share—so many problems are just a matter of transportation; just think if we could re-direct hurricanes and thunderstorms to north Africa or Australia or other parched portions of the planet—as I wove my way through the knot of people, “excuse me, ‘scuse me, scuse me,” when the mayor of San Francisco, Ed Lee, cut me off.
He was leaving some event at Lefty’s with an entourage, and we’d have plowed into each other belly to belly had I not stopped short. Some handler behind him was telling people what “the mayor” wanted, as I hustled on by.
So I walked down Geary thinking of what I might have or could have said to the mayor, as trepverter is one of my specialties. Might have been interesting had he run into the nearly naked Asian young lady?
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I love working Christmas week. All the normal workaday nuisances subside in an almost hibernatory fashion as so many coworkers are off on holiday. It isn’t necessarily any individual I find a nuisance (well, okay, I could name names but won’t), rather it’s the peacefulness of so many being gone, along with the unexpected everyday demands of the place. So I can get done the things I expect to get done when I arrive, along with the sense of accomplishment one gets, as opposed to the thwarted energy of mundane unforeseen official detours.
Christmas itself was fine, and I enjoyed all the Christmas lights and decorations, as well as exchanging cards and greetings with distant friends I only connect with this time of year. But I’m glad it’s over. I was pretty busy this December, and it was nice to finish a lot of work in order to start the new year with those projects done.
Yesterday evening I left work a little later than usual, dusk giving way to night and City Hall gorgeous in red and green light.
I was surprised by the crowd of people on the southern third of plaza, across from the Bill Graham Civic Center. As I walked down into the BART station, throngs of young people passed by, enroute to the plaza, and I realized they were headed to New Years Eve celebrations. I was even more glad to be headed the other direction: going home.
We had dinner, opened a bottle of nice wine, and watched the 1960 Oscar-winning The Apartment, with all it’s wonderful scenes of Manhattan holidays long gone, including one of the better Santas in cinema history. “Hey, Charlie — give me a shot of bourbon and step on it — my sleigh is double parked!”
Happy New Year, all.