Friday, June 06, 2008

Passing Through the Portal

About once every year since we split in 2002 R____ and I go on what I would not call exactly dates nor reunions, but meeting is too formal of a word. Since we were together the night of 9/11, I guess he'll always hold a special place in my life, and he's someone from my past I hold no ill will towards. But with each reconnection, it's clear why we see each other once a year and spend the other 364 days thinking of each other fondly.

Did I mention that both of his parents were members of Hitler's Youth (seriously)? And that his dad died the night of our first date, and his brother called right after we'd...well, I think you get the picture (double seriously).

It proved to be an early night, and we spent it in West Portal, a place just down the hill from where he used to live, and home to my favorite MUNI station. There's something dramatic about that emergence from that tunnel, as if one were making the final leg of the difficult journey to the golden shores of the Pacific. It really feels more like a bourgeois neighborhood in Antwerp or Rotterdam, not as high toned as Saint Francis Woods, perhaps, and a place tourists never visit. And though it has a Starbucks and local chains like Hahn's Korean barbecue, it has more things like Dake's light shop (below), run by a Russian man and with a selection shade knobs that could fuel my passion for them equal for my standing obsession for door knobs.

When R___ and I were together, it felt I was a card carrying member of the bourgeoisie, something that I've felt or been several times in life and with mixed emotions. I've never trashed the bourgeoisie since I think that's in its own way buying into the caste system. Even worse are those members of the privileged poor who take on the role of self-appointed advocates for the marginalized. As I once heard stated, the proletariat are the only ones who don't know the definition of the word.

About two hours is good enough for all I'd want to accomplish in West Portal, and heading back into the tunnel does make me feel I've escaped one world and headed back to another one.

And, for those that keep tabs, R____ is not the person mentioned in a similar post last week about Music and Meaning.

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