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Million Moms March

May 27th, 2000

Certainly I Have
I awoke at 5:30. Ungodly hour. Still, there are advantages. I'd returned from shopping by 7:00. A large package of toilet paper, remembering at the last minute I was down to my last roll. Milk. Cereal. Thought I'd experiment with breakfast at home before leaving for work. Sometimes I skip breakfast, sometimes I buy cereal in a plastic cup on the way in and eat it at my desk, sometimes I buy bacon and eggs on toast and have it at a restaurant while reading the paper. Cereal at home adds scads of additional excitement to what might otherwise become an ordinary morning, don't you think? Or am I merely having trouble getting this started? Or, as I said, is 5:30 too early to get up in the morning? The mind runs in strange channels. The journal seems to follow.

I took BART to San Francisco later and got off at the Embarcadero station. I've been thinking for some time that I'd like to walk along The Embarcadero (It's not just Embarcadero, but The Embarcadero.) and shoot pictures of the new Giants stadium: one, because I've heard so much about it, and two, because I lived just beyond the stadium area on Potrero Hill in the 70's and I wanted to see how much it had changed. Holy shit. I had no idea. When they said two bedroom apartment rents were running over two thousand a month, I thought that sounded insane given the nature of the area. This was empty industrial land the last time I was there and the addition of a baseball stadium can't bring rentals up that high, right?

Everything is four-five-six floor high rise. They look like the condominiums farther north across the Bay to Breakers. street from Pier 39 and Fisherman's Wharf. Expensive, nice design, very much two thousand a month and up. I had no idea. I once wrote a book with an opening chapter set along The Embarcadero in this area, the driver (who had about an hour to live in the narrative) was driving a Volkswagen bus in a rain storm on his way to meet someone at a bar later that night ("yes, on a dark and stormy night") and my description might as well have been a description of the moon with looming dark piles of earth and the massive black shadows of Caterpillar tractors and construction equipment. Now it's high rent high rise right down to the water, huge palm trees lining the road, young men and women running along the waterfront in sweat suits, Starbucks with tables out on the sidewalks under shade trees, nice leafy green in the heart of San Francisco. Fountains. Exposed red brick. Somebody had a plan for all those Caterpillar tractors and construction equipment.

So I shot pictures. What the hell. People were streaming toward the stadium on their way to a ball game as I approached and the stadium itself was surrounded by a large crowd, some waiting in lines, some looking for scalpers, some buying from scalpers, some shooting pictures of their companions in front of the Willie Mays statue, all of this under a hot San Francisco sun (some would say hot, some would say warm and some would wonder what I was talking about). A long walk, who knows if I got any pictures.

I should go back in my car on a day when there's no game or traffic and drive through the area from the stadium, which is built smack against the base of an old draw bridge I remember full well on the city side that I've crossed a thousand times, to the base of Potrero Hill. Maybe have a drink at Mission Rock. If there still is a Mission Rock. It's been a long time. Potrero Hill is just a place, after all, and the life I lived there and the people I knew have all gone their separate ways. Certainly I have.

The banner photograph was taken at the Million Moms March, the photograph of the young man was taken at the San Francisco Bay to Breakers on Sunday.