June 23, 2001: Part 1

Friday morning, June 15th, I flew to San Francisco (by way of Dallas-Fort Worth) to attend the American Library Association annual conference. After having spent the better part of a week mucking out the Library's lower level, tossing hundreds of volumes of waterlogged (and lesser used) materials, and wrapping hundreds of other volumes and boxes and boxes of archival materials in freezer paper I was ready to go! As it so often does, San Francisco provided the perfect respite.

I arrived earlier on Friday than I'd planned, which was good since I wanted to go to Berkeley to see my friend J and his partner P, who I hadn't met before. I wound up meeting J's son, L, too, who I've been hearing about since he was 10 or 11 and who is now 25 and angling for a job overseas! We had dinner at Cafe de la Pazon Shattuck Avenue, which features a sort of fusion Latin cuisine (some Brazilian, some Ecuadorean, some Cuban, etc.) Afterwards they drove me up to the top of Grizzly Peak and stopped at one of the turn offs so that we could look out over, well, all of it! UC, Berkeley, Oakland, the bridges, Treasure Island, Alcatraz, SF, Marin, most of it covered in a low lying fog.

"You can just leave me here and come pick me up Tuesday morning," I told them. "I'll be perfectly happy to sit here looking at this for the next four days."

J, who grew up in the Bay Area, then went away for 10-15 years to pursue graduate school and begin his career, pointed out that he returned to Berkeley with some apprehension in the late 1970s -- and now he wonders why he ever left, or why anyone would want to live anywhere else.

"It's just this perfect teacup," he said as we looked out over it all.

Sigh.

He's right, of course. Why would anyone want to live anywhere else? Of course, that's what makes it impossible for most of us. We won't all fit and if we tried it wouldn't be the Elysium that it is now.

More on that later...

RPJ


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