Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Small World in a New Town

“Aren’t you Pat Corrigan, the writer in St. Louis?”

That’s a question I heard constantly in and around St. Louis. Today, I heard it in a small coffee shop in Cole Valley, my next-door neighborhood. Standing there smiling at me as my jaw dropped and my smile grew was Bill Grivna, acting teacher (and now life skills coach and Tai Chi practitioner) from home, on vacation in San Francisco.

“I am,” I said, “except now I live here – have for a whole month!” We both laughed for the joy of it, and then set to catching up.

Michael Max, my friend and acupuncturist from St. Louis (see www.youngkangclinic.com) was with me and Bill was with a friend and Tai Chi practitioner who used to live in San Francisco. We all ended up exchanging information for resources. And of course I told Bill that on opening night at the Rep, he must hug Steve and Champe and kiss Edward for me. I will miss being at opening night – all the opening nights -- so Bill agreed to be there on my behalf as well as his own.

Bill asked where I live. I pointed up the hill, and explained that Cole Valley, just six blocks down some steep streets, is my next-door neighborhood, where I hang out. My apartment is just below Twin Peaks, the two 900-plus-high hills right in the center of the city: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twin_Peaks_%28San_Francisco,_California%29.

Standing at the top of one of the hills on this gloriously clear and sunny day, Michael and I found my building. Then, looking beyond – east to the Bay and north to Marin and west to the sea – Michael turned to me and said, “You did it. You’re here." Then he gestured to the scenic vistas all around us and added, "Look at all this -- you are a super hero!”

Nice, huh?

Also nice is the front-page coverage Sunday in the San Francisco Chronicle on a subject dear to my heart – whales! See www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/07/25/MN8K1EJ0U6.DTL or just Google the Chronicle (www.sfgate.com) and type in “whales.” Two weeks ago, dozens of blue whales steamed into Monterey Bay. I may have to run down the coast and see for myself! One whale-watch trip sighted 28 of them – the largest creatures ever to live on the planet.

Speaking of my favorite marine mammals, on Thursday I have an appointment to meet with the director of the Oceanic Society (www.oceanicsociety.org) to discuss a volunteer job. I hope to do some writing for them, and also to get out on the boats to assist the naturalists. Roger Payne offered me a similar job a long time ago, off the other coast, and I was unable to take it. That was then -- now it’s a real possibility!

In Other News, earlier today, I went to one of the three Trader Joe’s stores in San Francisco. Here’s how this works – cars line up in the traffic lane closest to the curb and wait (patiently or im) as TJ employees wave in each car when a spot in the modestly sized lot is vacated. Inside, the store is big and bustling. (And what fun to fill the cart with stuff I love and have been without for over a month!) Outside, I felt the need to hurry to my car and drive off so the next person in line could get in. Strange!

Here at The Crow’s Nest, the best news is that the new bed part arrived at 8:20 p.m. last night and finally I got a good night’s sleep. As I said in the last post, I am finished unpacking, finished stashing stuff into closets, finished running the last of the boxes and the donations off to the Haight-Ashbury Recycling Center. Sunday, I officially started living here, as opposed to being busy moving in. I celebrated that by attending a double feature with Susan at the Balboa – the haunting “I Am Love” and “The Secret in Their Eyes.” Four hours and 30 minutes of movies!

This afternoon, gazing out my wall of windows at my world-class view, Michael said, “It’s all out there, and it’s all extraordinary, isn’t it?” I told him it is – but a lot of my life takes place in this chair, at this desk, writing. I’ve got five assignments right now and a couple more lined up for the future, so that important part of my life remains the same.

Everything else is different. Here when I look out the window, what I see is extraordinary – wee sailboats and huge container ships heading to Oakland or going out to sea (I track the ship traffic at www.boatingsf.com/ais_map.php -- a terrific new hobby) or redtail hawks (thinking of you, Jim Hanselman!) soaring over my building to the Tank Hill nature preserve behind me or – this time of day -- opaque filaments of fog stretching in from the sea.

Super hero? Nah. But I am living her life!

1 comment:

  1. It all sounds so wonderful!...so ...YOU! Love the Trader Joe story. We in STL are spoiled, though. That same scenario you describe is true in Minneapolis! I've been through it with Jamie up there!