Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Tales of the city

A few highlights from my long weekend in San Francisco:

  • Saw the Gilbert & George retrospective at the de Young. Had never heard of the artists and was quite impressed and amused. (The image above was one of my favorites.) It was especially funny seeing a show full of nudity and "shocking" images (excrement crucifix, anyone?) with my mom, who found the whole thing "interesting" and was better able to reflect later, when we were elsewhere, on how engaging it was. I found myself wondering whether the Seattle Art Museum would take on a show like this. But maybe I'm not giving it enough credit.

  • Met a sweet-natured middle-aged woman named Leslie Ferguson on the streetcar to Fisherman's Wharf. Mere minutes after meeting me, she complimented my mother on how I turned out. I mention this only because she wasn't praising my upbringing; she was praising my looks. If ever there was a city in which being flirted with by a kindly fortysomething in a belly shirt wouldn't surprise me, it would be San Francisco. She's a former Manhattanite, and while I got the impression that not many locals shell out $5 a pop (one way!) to ride the streetcars, there was Leslie, proud San Franciscan, hanging on as we went up and down the hills, and chatting away. When we parted, she hugged me and my mom and kissed my sister's hand. Delightful.

  • Met a disgruntled worker at David's Deli on Geary. I was quite pleased to find a deli that seemed a bit like the honest-to-God Jewish delis of my Detroit youth, of which Seattle has very few, if any. (Still haven't made it out to Goldberg's Famous since I wrote my extremely ill-considered preview for the Weekly, way back when.) Anyway, the disgruntled employee was inclined to tell the truth, Bulworth-style, since it was his last day on the job. Here's what happened:

    Me: "How big is a large orange juice?"

    Him: "You don't want a large orange juice."

    Me: "I don't?"

    Him: "No. Too expensive. Not worth it."

    Me: "Oh. Is there anything else I should know about the menu?"

    Him: "The potato pancakes aren't fresh. They're frozen. And the orange juice -- it says 'freshly squeezed,' but it's not."

    Me: "Okay. What is good? Are the blintzes good?"

    Him: "The blintzes are very good. Very fresh."

    Me: "I'd like the blintzes. But I kind of also want eggs."

    Him: "I'll bring you two eggs on the side."

    Me: "Scrambled?"

    Him: "Sure."

    He ended up refilling my orange juice for free and throwing in hash browns with the eggs. I kind of loved him. I tipped him $10.

No comments: