lots of purple.

hot today, leading to a bad headache which lasted anywhere from noon 'til six. this morning meagan and i decided we would go to san francisco. now, a beginning like this, and anything involving san francisco, usually ends in disaster. but i went to a giants game yesterday, and i decided meagan really needed to approach san francisco from the south end. there's something about the south end - maybe it's the lack of a toll, or the endless graves at the veterans' memorial, maybe it's the giant south of san francisco the industrial city sign in white block letters like hollywood's - that makes it seem worth traveling to.

so off we went, and for those looking for bad things to happen to us today, you're out of luck. this is just a boring recap of a not-so-boring day. the reason we didn't get lost, didn't end up yelling at each other across the armrests of my honda civic, and managed to hit up everything we wanted to see, was because of dong. yes, i have a friend named dong. he went to usf and majored in poly sci. he thought about becoming a lawyer, but after two days of reception work at a law firm, quit. "every time a lawyer would talk to me, i just wanted to slap him," he said.

dong's apartment ($1100/mo. for those curious about s.f. rents) lies in outer-richmond ("like richmond, virginia?" meagan asks? "like mitch richmond?" i add) is cool, dark, and has a back porch/patio. whatever you want to call it. "not many places in s.f. have this," he says, proudly. he's watching the new jersey cleveland game and i ask him about the warriors. meagan interrupts, "james says you live for three things - weed, getting laid, and the nba." i wanted to correct, the nba playoffs (which is what i really had said), but i just wait for his answer. "yeah, that used to be. but there's a little more to it than that now." i wonder for a second if he's found religion, politics, philosophy. i want to know what it is, but i don't push it.

the three of us pile into my car and drive to the moma (museum of modern art), located on third street. unable to find street parking, we bring it into a garage. the total, we later learn, is $8. i don't mind so much. meagan always says, "it's not a weekend until we've wasted $6." once an annoyance, now a tradition.

i don't get art. i'll admit that much. in the museum, i tell dong, "i don't get it. i know it's cool, and i'm supposed to like it, but to me, it's just like that's cool and move on. i mean, i know it's hard to do..." i stop, realizing people can hear my ignorant blather - even meagan is giving me disapproving looks - and continue it later. dong admits he doesn't really get it, either. as we stare at stuart davis' painting, the studio, he says, "yeah, see. if i came over to your house and you showed me that, i'd just be like, 'i don't know, james. is everything alright?' " i help him some more. talking about not understanding art, to me, is more fun than actually talking about art. "and it always seems like it'd have to be some kind of bullshit, you know? like, how would i even explain what i'm doing to you? i used diagonal lines here and a lighter shade of blue to express the loneliness." "for reals," he agrees. "always bullshit. has to be." and for a moment i feel like we're high schoolers again, that nothing's changed. and for a moment it feels cool, real, the way i used to be: simple, but real. i know i can't stay, though.

also in the museum there are paintings done by picasso, georgia o'keefe, dali, jackson pollock, japser johns, frida, the list goes on... i tell meagan that what depresses me is that a lot of this was done when they were our age. and they had less resources to do it. and it seems so simple, just throwing paint on a canvas, splotching here, dripping there. but i knew that if i tried, it wouldn't work.

we leave the moma and it's hot out. we sweat in our jeans and shirts. when we get to our next stop, godzilla sushi (where everything's less than $4), it's closed. we eat, instead, at naan and curry. good, spicy indian food. not perfect for a hot day, but filling, still. we stare at a man's abandoned, uneaten naan, a whole piece, and we all think about grabbing it for ourselves. but, we don't. "social norms," meagan says.

we drive to the other side of the city for meagan's truffles. she buys a big box this time.

then, my turn. amoeba. only for half an hour. dong's tired, wants to go home. my headache and inability to locate the zidane soundtrack also concludes the day. i do, however, pick up the new feist, which santa cruz's streetlight didn't have in stock, thus making them the worst record store ever, and santa cruz the worst city ever.

we bring him home, he fills my klean kanteen, and meagan and i drift back to sleepy watsonville in the tired nightfall. i think about if i've ever driven, or ridden this stretch during this time of year. i point out where grace and ate ging-ging used to live, the ramada, facing the coast, by the int'l. airport.

i remember the hymn "be not afraid" going off in my head before we last flew to the philippines, 12, 13 years ago. i don't know why i was scared.

there's nothing to fear in san francisco.

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