Sunday, June 15, 2008

Uncharted Lands of the Far West

Sometimes I have wonderful dreams that I have discovered an unknown room in my house, or unexplored treasures of a street in my own town.

That really is often the case even here in dreary old San Francisco. Living in the Mission, it's easy to think 24th Street is the center of the world and that heading over to Valencia is some grand adventure. And I have a bad habit of thinking that civilization ends west of Arguello But from time to time I discover a real jewel there. For years I've heard all the raves about Green Apple Books being such a treasure. My furtive stops there have always been disappointing, perhaps because I've breezed in with expectations of it being Portland's Powell's or Manhattan's Strand or -- even worse -- going with a big box store mentality of thinking that stepping in for five minutes will yield some great treasures. Sauntering over via the 33 (which yields some of the oddest transitions of any bus line in the city) I gave the store the untimed, leisurely exploration it deserves as afternoon gently shifted to evening. I even returned after a pleasant Vietnamese dinner, enjoying the slower pace of Clement as opposed to freeway-esque Geary. I was also struck that after a stroll of a good dozen-plus blocks there was not one encounter with a panhandler. The abundance of families at all-you-can-eat buffets were a nice prelude to a Father's Day that will be marked by memories and no current realities. The annex that features music and DVDs is not definitive, but it was a thrill to capture a copy of Les Enfants de Paradis at a fraction of any listed price and having a sweet conversation about the film's power with the gawky rail-thin clerk.

The neighborhood feels oddly not a part of San Francisco, almost echoing Seattle's Ballard. Well, yes, I know pho isn't exactly Scandinavian. Best of all (and I know my many whiny "cold" adverse friends will bristle) it was perfectly cool and foggy. Great weather for a nice long walk and lugging home books about French cinema -- and a landmark piece of French cinema.

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At 6:58 AM, Blogger mouse (aka kimy) said...

cool and foggy - ah, in my dreams!!

At 10:16 AM, Blogger Ladrón de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

Mouse - An amazing number of people here whine about it.

At 1:06 PM, Blogger The Blue Elephant said...

Formerly spent a lot of time in your 24th Street neighborhood as I was just across a now defunct pedestrian bridge on Potrero Hill -- and also love Ballard in Seattle (even have a poem about Ballard). Now Mission Street: It has stores that are Junk Paradise -- the kind of things that end up in great heaps in Flea Markets, where they look so lost and become more loveable. Don't know how to send a wonderful Junk photo I have so I will have to send that message to Junk Thief by way of my own blog!

At 5:34 PM, Blogger Ladrón de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

Blue - Thanks, I'll check out the junk.


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