S is for... San Francisco
SO, for some reason. Possibly the whole San Francisco 49ers thing from growing up. Definitely partly down to that. I have always had some kind of affinity with San Francisco. I mean for one thing, it sounds cool as fuck, doesn't it? It's a cool name for a place. It's cool to say. Saaaaaan Fraaaaaaan-cis-coooo! Way cool.
But also, that bridge man. The San Francisco Golden Gate bridge. That is a cool bridge. Like, when you learn about it, you go, cool name. You probably go, why is it called that? Well, San Francisco 49ers, named after the 1849 Gold Rush. Golden Gate Bridge, probably named after the gold rush, right?
Well no, no it's not. I'm learning this today, by the way. The bridge is named after the Golden Gate Strait, the stretch of water that the bridges runs over. It's got nothing to do with the gold rush. Just happy coincidence. The name came in 1846 from John C. Fremont, a topographical engineer, who likened the San Francisco strait to the Golden Horn of the Bosporus in Constantinople (now Istanbul). Fremont used the Greek Term to name the strait, Chrysopylae, which in English translates to Golden Gate.
The colour of the bridge, 'International Orange'.
I used to think that bridge was so cool. A suspension bridge. There's something really cool about a suspension bridge. Once upon a time I wanted to be an engineer of some sort, maybe even an architect. I even wanted to work in formula one. I thought building stuff was awesome. I thought if I could build a bridge or a skyscraper that would be ace. But turns out, I ended up being pretty shit at physics. I've got my reasons as to why, which I'll elaborate on someday. There's more to it than what I'm about to write.
I got a CC in science at GCSEs. I chose to do physics at AS-Level. But I had to go for an interview to prove that I was capable and committed. CC's at GCSE apparently weren't good enough. So I went for the interview, got on the course. But...and I have friends that will agree with me on this, it's not me just me being a dick and making excuses, our AS physics teacher was weak. He was new to our college I think. But he didn't control the class, he didn't help us engage. Believe me, I wanted to. Physics can be hard enough as it is, without a teacher that can't get everyone on board. Needless to say, I dropped physics. I got an E at AS-Level. I'll pick up bits and bobs from time to time. But for the foreseeable, physics is not really on my radar. The boat has pretty much well and truly sailed.
Back to San Francisco. So, I think I was about 17/18 when I went on holiday there with my brother and Mum and Step-Dad. I know this because I've just looked up when Anger Management with Adam Sandler and Jack Nicholson came out, 2003. Me and my brother went to watch it one of the nights. So whilst we were in California we went to Los Angeles and San Francisco. I forget which first. We drove the coastal route between the two, which was sketchy. Like, I'm not massive on heights and that road is basically on a cliff edge at points. But on the way, we stopped at a bay where there were loads of sea lions just lying there chilling. Which...was...awesome!
We went on the trams, did the usual eating and drinking in places, shopped. It's just a really nice place. Whilst I was in San Francisco I felt great. It was maybe even on that holiday that I decided, I want everyday to feel like I'm in San Francisco. The way I felt walking around the place was awesome. It felt great to be somewhere I'd always wanted to go. So that's what I've always been working towards; recapturing the feeling I had whilst being in San Francisco, wherever I am in the world. It might be better than that, but that kind of had to be a bench mark or sort. I'm pretty much there these days. Obviously the circumstances are very different. But the feeling of comfort and happiness I have seems very close.
LIFE LESSON - Literally, ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS I'VE EVER HEARD ANYONE SAY IN MY LIFE, EVVVVVVEEEERRRRRRRR!!!! Said by a complete stranger, a lady, crossing the road, in San Francisco. Let me set the scene. I'm with my brother. We're English - I'd say British but I think we all know there are some fairly distinct differences between those of us that make up Britain. So, me, my brother, the two of us - we're let's say two middle class English lads. He's a little bit older than me. Keep in mind, we've been to the States before at this point. But crossing the road in New York is very different to some other places - in New York you better cross the fucking road else you are gonna get beeped to fuck OR you're gonna get killed. Get the fuck out of the way! BEEEEEP! And that's why I love that city!
But SAN FRANCISCO, totally different city. Anyway, we're English, we were raised to look both ways when you cross the road. Not like some shit English. We check it's safe, and thus proceed to cross the road when safety has been established. So we've done this. We're stood at the side of the road, keeping an eye on a car that is about to turn into the road we are about to cross. And this woman just power walks straight past us and crosses the road. AND SHE SAYS....
"People have the right of way in this city."
And we both look at each other like, what the fuck?! Haha!!! She didn't say it really to us, just kind of said it as she was power walking across the road. Then she was gone. One of my life heroes. Just bam. Gone. Still to this day I'm like, what the fuck happened!? And that's that. Didn't know whether to feel stupid or like she was stupid or what.
BUT - and I've thought about this - A LOT. People should have the right of way. I mean, what else is going to have the right of way? The right of way is a human construct. Of course we've got the fucking right of way, WE MADE IT! We made 'the right of way'. But the point is, a human, a HUMAN has right of way. Not a fucking human on a bike, not a fucking human on a segway, not a fucking human on a moped(that is a weird looking weird isn't it?), not a human on a motorbike, not human in a car, not a human in a bus, not a human in a taxi - MAAAAAAYBE, actually definitely emergency services vehicles - but that's why they have sirens. But none of the rest of these pricks - a fucking regular commuting human has right of way. Everything else can fuck off! And that ladies and gentlemen is why everyone needs to slow the fuck down, and chill the fuck out. Because?!
Who doesn't love a good quote?
"I have always been rather better treated in Sand Francisco than I actually deserved." - Mark Twain
Songs to listen to now:
Sitting on the dock of the bay - Otis Redding
San Francisco - Scott McKenzie
I Left My Heart in San Francisco - Tony Bennett
Fake Tales of San Francisco - Artic Monkeys
California on my Mind - Wild Light
San Francisco - The Mowgli's
Star Dog Champion - Mother Love Bone