Dec 21, 2012

They said today was the end of the world. I was half way down the fourth floor at 850 Bryant when I remembered.  Suddenly, the linoleum could not have been more sinister; the flickering neon light in the corridor was no white light.  
   A woman was looking at the 8 by 10 framed photos of cops that run all the way down the hallway.  You'd have thought she was at the Jeu de Paume, hand holding wrist behind her back, leaning in, looking this way and that. 
   I was on my way to pick up the week's arrest logs.  As I passed, the woman said, "you should see the reflection in those raybands."  I stopped and went back.  She was in her 30s, blue bandana, beautiful, voluptuous, from an island I felt, painted face, glassy eyes, long earings full of totems. I peered at the photo, but wanted to see her more clearly. 
   "Look real close," she said. "See it?" 
   "What," I said. 
   "In the reflection." 
   I looked long and hard. I could see there was something in the reflection, but I couldn't make it out. The image was too small.
   "I can't see it," I said.  
   "Yes, that's because they don't want you to see it. Things happening there they don't want you to know."
   We were close together now,  just outside this picture of two cops looking at something. 
   "Murder," she said. "That's what you're missing: murder." 
   She looked at me and back to the picture. I figured she was a forensic. I went and got the logs; 15 minutes later I passed her on the way out.  She'd moved to another photo: another cop wearing raybands. As I passed she said something, I couldn't make it out.  I paused my step. She knew it.  "You don't believe in anything," she said. "Too bad for you."

Dec 7, 2012

   On the last Tuesday of every month, the San Francisco Historical Association meets at the bottom of St. Philips Church in Noe Valley. There’s always a presentation. Doors open at 7 p.m., but the talking and the lights don’t die down until after 8.  Non-members pay $5.
   At a recent meeting, to celebrate the Golden Gate Bridge on its 75th anniversary, there were perhaps 50 people. A lot of singles, a lot of threes. Men wore safari hates, berets, bald heads and baseball caps heavy with pins from this legion or that. Women arrived in heavy sweaters and scarves and with looks of expectation. There was hardly a person under 50. Next to the sugar cookies and the two-buck chuck were the door prizes, including a 49er pennant and a vintage Giants pennant, along with The Great San Francisco Trivia Game.
   “Has anyone seen Richard lately?” Someone asked out loud in a New York accent.  Whoever Richard was, no one had seen him. Someone else said they thought he’d been ill. “I just hope he’s okay,” they said. “You never know.”
   At Association meetings personal history is as important as communal history....