Uncharted Lands of the Far West
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.