Saturday, January 19, 2008

Solace, Part II

Yesterday I spoke of getting out and exploring the City, and so yesterday morning, after my bloodwork and breakfast in Pac Heights, I took a new bus and went to a new place. The 22, the Mission.

Yes, the 22 doesn't go to the Mission, but it appears that though there is a little black 3 painted on the yellow bus stop poles up and down the Fillmore, the 3 doesn't visit there anymore. At least, not in a 45-minute period. I remembered what one of the contributors wrote on Yelp about the 22 being a pretty ride in a certain light and thought I would give it a shot (I'm a sucker for obscure beauty, thanks to my mother), but I didn't really see a whole lot of beauty. Two guys were at opposite ends of a shake-down on cell phones at different parts of the bus, and I could have almost sworn it was the same shake-down...a man sat between them dressed entirely in the plastic bags that San Francisco supposedly banned, woven into tight, mildewing cloth...3 women up front looked like they should have been in a cab and NOT on, of all modes of transportation, the 22.

Ah, but I did something different.

I got off at Church, took the J to Mission Delores, and walked from there to the original Philz with the Gipsy Kings playing on the iPod. That's a long walk for a girl with minor muscle atrophy, and I paid for it later in the day, but the walk itself was bold and refreshing, 18th, Valencia, and 24th full of the bright and mismatched colors of the Mission like a constant carnival. The original Philz was a complete shock from the new Philz at 4th and Berry--the new one looks like a dentist's waiting room and the original looks like a storage room. Not kidding. Decor-wise, the original is a mess. The walls are painted blue from about 3 feet from the ceiling down, and 3 feet from the ceiling up is a mural of all things outdoor, like those forests you put in 70's living rooms. The chairs and tables are a hodge-podge of coffeehouse, modern blah furniture, and patio furniture, and there is so much of it that getting to an empty seat is more of an apology to other furniture than it is to other patrons. I sat close to the door. The water and juice is in coolers behind the boxes the delivery guy used to bring them in, and the restroom is a storage closet with a toilet in the corner. Trash containers that you wheel to the street, old boxes and a toilet. Because of the layout of the room, I was shocked to find a sink there. Along one main window a set of shelves had been built for a collection of plants with yellow leaves and over-spilling roots, and the only other window was covered with political signage (Hillary, Obama) and tag-sheets offering lessons in anything imaginable or space for a roommate.

Very bohemian. It was good to visit, and gave me another opening into the Mission, which I am taking on in small bites here and there. They have some fantastic bookstores and soon I will try more of their cuisine and coffee.

And then I walked back to Valencia and down to Market, hopped on the train, and went out to see my lake. Good job of branching out, Jo, and welcome home to Mission Creek.

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