Congratulations, San Francisco!

“Congratulations, San Francisco! You’ve ruined pizza!” ~Anger (Inside Out)

san-francisco_sightseeingI miss California — the smell of the ocean being wafted to shore on the breeze. That scent of salt in the air, there’s just nothing like it. The seagulls swooping in with the tide, landing on the sand as if they were cats and the beach was one giant litter box. There’s just something about San Francisco, with its slanted street, with its Golden Gate Bridge, with its hippie pizza places, that makes me feel like I’m home.

I’ve never lived there, mind you. In fact, most of what I know about the city is through television shows and movies that depict it, but the small amount of time I spent there was enough to draw me in, to spark my imagination in ways that it has rarely been sparked before.

When I was 12, the Giants went to the World Series, and while I wasn’t really a baseball fan back then my favorite player was Will Clark, and he played for the Giants. So I was fascinated by that World Series, by that entire postseason really. Before every game I would study the lineups. Because the series was a “battle across the bay,” there was a lot of coverage of both Oakland and San Francisco, so I got to see a ton of footage from those cities. I loved every second of it.

I had been there myself just a few years earlier, while traveling with a couple of elementary teachers and a passel of students on a summer trip cross-country. We had seen so much on that trip, but what stuck with me the most was those two days in San Francisco. Only two days out of a dynamic summer, but there was just something about the place that gave me chills.

fisherman-wharf-san-francisco1Fisherman’s Wharf was phenomenal, that cool air, all the thick, corded rope that blocked off the end of the platforms, the restaurants that stretched on for what seemed like miles on end. We rode a double-decker bus and a trolley through the city, one mode of transportation a day, and both had extraordinary views of the city in all its unique glory. I remember wondering if we were going to fall off the edge of the world when we were on that trolley going almost vertical down one of the streets.

And even though that was nearly 30 years ago, I will never forget it. I haven’t forgotten it. It’s funny that the setting of my favorite animated film, Inside Out, was San Francisco, because it reminded me of all that was wonderfully strange about the city itself. From the organic pizza parlors, to the hippie vibe on the streets, to the thriving art scene, the city is a prime example of everything “different” in this world.

When Anger said, “Congratulations, San Francisco! You’ve ruined pizza!” I nodded right along, and let out a few laughs as well, because to him ruining pizza means putting broccoli on it, and I love that topping.

Maybe that’s why I miss California so much, and San Francisco in particular, because I like things that are odd, situations and places that are off the beaten track, that don’t conform to any expectations. Because that’s who I am as well, and a city after my very heart is one I won’t forget any time soon. And that Golden Gate Bridge all lit up at night is my idea of heaven.

Sam

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