San Francisco

I have been on a bike tour going up the west coast starting in San Diego on July 5th. I stopped keeping a blog because it didn’t seem like anything people were interested in and it wasn’t doing anything for me either. But I am staying with someone who convinced me to give it another go, just as a way to write down my thoughts so that I can remember them later. So I’m starting here, with San Francisco, and what I’ve been feeling lately.

San Fran, as the locals absolutely do not call it, is, for the most part, a nice city. It’s on the bay which keeps it from getting too hot or too cold, there’s a diverse population which always comes with good food, and there’s a lot of bike paths, of special importance to me. But there are some some odd things and some bad things as well.

There are, for instance, very few public bathrooms. Combined with the numerous hills, I think it would be difficult to be old in San Francisco. And despite the overt way they care for the environment, there are not enough public trash cans, which leads to trash building up in piles wherever the wind blows it.

Then, like the rest of California, there are a lot of homeless people. Maybe it’s because the homeless are more visible in California, maybe it’s because I’m sort of pretending to be homeless at the moment, maybe it’s because of all the kindness that people show me on a regular basis, but they have been on my mind a lot recently.

We really need to do better, as a society and as individuals. So far on this trip two different strangers have invited me into their homes, people who had zero connection to me before doing so. Several more have bought me food or beer. And yet less compassion is shown to people who need it far more than I do. This isn’t meant to be an indictment; glass houses and all that. But maybe it’s an awakening, for me if for no one else. I’m going to try and do better, to help people more, and I can’t think of anyone that is closer or needs more help.

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