Thursday, January 19, 2017
The Night Before the Morning After
So, here I am, ensconced in an on the whole entirely comfortable room in San Francisco.
If the place has a shortfall, it lies in its absolutely unshakable dedication to middle-brow British style of some unplaceable moment of the last century - one equal parts generic Sussex country house and striving Carnaby Street Mod-ism, so that the wallpaper (illustrated above) is a riot of cabbage roses, while the pictures are all of ranks of Dolly Birds in great round sunglasses and then-daring minis striding about. It's not un-comfortable, especially in tandem with very efficient gas fireplaces and dark figured carpeting (the overall affect of which makes me feel as if I'm inhabiting the quarters of a recently arrived governess for a distinctly eccentric family), but I can't help finding the deeply unreliable Edwardian cage elevator an unfortunate affectation.
I do enjoy San Francisco; it is so very much pleased with itself. This wholly self-centered satisfaction, I think, sets the city up as a natural rival to our Nation's Capital, a place that is quite entirely a metropolis unhappy with its painfully evident second-rankedness; a quasi-metropolis, really, that longs to be considered a Serious City, even if what it most closely resembles is a marshy waste that quite by happenstance seems to have had a moderately sizeable community built on top of it - and one that can never quite appreciate that one needs in a real, cosmopolitan urban center is, mostly, variety.
Well, that's one thing that this town has in spades, every hilly stretch of streets chockablock with neck-snapping contrasts. A boy could get used to it.
The work - my ostensible reason for being here - goes on apace, and if nothing else it keeps one from paying too much attention to the news, which is (as if I had to tell you) dire. I'm going to try and spend tomorrow ignoring it all, and I'm going to fail miserably. But at least I'll do it in a city that has excellent corner brasseries, a startling selection of happy hours, and nothing but scorn for all the lunacy that faces us beginning at 12:01 tomorrow afternoon.
Wish us luck...