Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Bear and Fog City

"You could say I became chronologically "fucked-up"."

The Tragically Hip "Locked in the Trunk of A Car"

Blogs are supposed to be written in real-time. But that’s not always possible, so here is a story that was written (mostly) on February 8. But I’m posting it on February 19. Oh well. Time is tight. And if you’re confused now, get ready because the next post will be going back to February 4. So keep up, will you?

It’3:58 AM PST in San Francisco. The city is blanketed in fog and I can hear the foghorn sounding in the Bay every twenty seconds. This much I know for sure. I should know as we just got home about 20 minutes ago. The night began with dinner with my friends Pappy (you can see his picture in the Boston story below) and Kelly. We went to Q, a solid little hipster restaurant in Richmond that reminded me a lot of Philly. I had fried chicken with tater tots and roasted veggies. And country gravy that I’d love a shot of right now. My friends live in the Haight. After dinner we dropped Kelly off at home (hey, some people have to work) and me and Pappy headed to Haight St. to figure it all out. The first stop was Alembic, which is owned by the same folks who own Magnolia, a great organic brew pub up the road. I had the Kalifornia Kolsch, which was served in a small glass because it’s supposed to be enjoyed cold. Next stop was Martin Macks, a nice dive that apparently used to smell more like vomit a little while ago. No worries because it sure smelled like piss in the johnny. The juke was solid and we waxed political while taking care of some Newcastle Browns. After a while we went across the street to the Gold Cane. The bartender sported a white beard and we all had a chuckle that the three of us wore beards. As we ordered a bear, I noticed Bear on the other side of the bar.

But I didn’t know it was Bear yet. So let’s track back. My conference (the reason I was in SF) ended around 4:00, so I decided to wander around Union Square and do some shopping for a bit. After that bag of fun, I got a snack and took a seat in Union Square. A fellow who can only be described as “true San Fran hippy” sat down nearby with a bite to eat. A busker was belting out a long tune on a bagpipe somewhere nearby and was really going to town. After an eternity he finally finished. The hippy said something to the effect of, “Jesus, that guy has a lot of wind.” So that got us talking about whatever. I told him that I was staying in the Haight and he said that’s where he lives and a good place to see is the Golden Cane, where you can hang out in the back and smoke pancakes. A new term to say the least, but it cracked him up, so who am I to disagree. So that is how I met Bear, although as I stated, I didn’t know he was Bear yet.

When we did get to the Gold Cane, he remembered me—no small feat considering his condition. The ol’ boy was completely boffo. To give you a picture of this guy, he was probably 5’10, 230 lbs (with a pronounced gut), long curly hair held back with a bandana. He also wore a few tshirts, suspenders, vest, and a leather jacket that had various buttons and military pins on it. A site to behold. When the bartender began to kick us out at 2:00, the regulars were attempting to get ol Bear to leave because he sure as hell didn’t want to. He wasn’t mean, he was just loud and loved to tell rude stories. A guy I could get behind to say the least. My last sight of Bear before we left was him blowing out some candles from the bar and putting them in his pockets. It’s not like they were special candles or something. I don’t think I ever saw someone steal a candle that was likely still dripping in wax, but so be it. And that brings us full circle to the foghorn.

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