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Familiarity of Tuesdays

Trying something new with this one. Some fact, some fiction, and all the feels. A bitter sweet good bye to San Francisco.

SCENES FROM THE STREETS: Random snaps from long walks in San Francisco because I'm really going to miss this sky.

The broken sidewalk

There’s a particular patch of the sidewalk in the Design District near my former apartment that’s distressed and neglected. I tripped on it exactly twice before I subconsciously learned to avoid it. I don't remember adjusting my gait or altering my footing to prevent a third incident, it just happened. Actually, I forgot I’d ever tripped on it until three days before I moved out I saw someone else stumble over the same spot. He looked back at the obstruction as if to calculate the error thinking he could somehow prevent it next time. I wanted to ask if he was new to the neighborhood. But everyone’s new to this neighborhood.

The garbage truck

Tuesdays used to be trash day at the Dumpling Time, they probably still are. I lived in the apartments above the Dumpling Time and my first four Tuesdays I was woken up sometime between 5:15am and 5:30am by the garbage truck hauling away last week’s remains. First I learned to recognize the sound of the truck approaching, beeping as it backed up followed by the inconsistent clanging of the giant lids swinging open and shut. Then I learned to anticipate it. I found myself awake just a few minutes before the truck arrived and I’d wait for the expected symphony. Eventually, I learned to sleep through it. There’s no Dumpling Time near my new apartment and I don’t know when trash day is for the building. My street is so narrow I’m not even sure if a garbage truck can maneuver into the lane.

The grocery store

In addition to writing excruciatingly specific grocery lists I also have a visual memory which means I sometimes map an optimal shopping route to enter the aisle from the correct side and minimize backtracking (this proved to be wildly useful in 2020). I can tell you exactly where the good Spicy Chipotle sauce is. One aisle away from the fishmonger, enter from near the eggs, across the lentils on the fourth shelf. I also know that sometimes if you go on your toes you'll find a few bottles tucked away out of sight from inexperienced eyes.

The first time I walked in that store three years ago I left with only half the things on my list. The grapes were in clamshell containers instead of bags, the bread was two aisles away from the cereal, and the pancake mix was in the baking section. I must have backtracked and retraced my steps over and over again that day. That’s how I ended up in the aisle one away from the fishmonger, across the lentils, staring into the fourth shelf at my now favorite Spicy Chipotle sauce. It wasn’t on the list that day but it has become a staple in my condiment rotation.

Restocking my visual memory (yet again) with new norms is going to be a messy, lonely, frustrating, scary process that will probably include some half empty fridges along the way; but if it means stumbling into surprises that I haven’t dreamt up for myself, I’ll take my chances.



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