Tell me a story, he said.
So I told him about my first morning in San Francisco. It was July, summer in the city, foggy and cold. I was tired and jet-lagged and had yet to unpack, but I wanted to see the famous California coast. I took a bus over the Golden Gate Bridge to San Rafael, where I boarded a shuttle to Point Reyes.
Alone, I wandered along the cliffs in the freezing fog, out to the lighthouse. I stood gazing at the roaring Pacific, a crazy-looking ocean, infinitely more dangerous and dramatic than the Gulf Coast waters I knew so well. On a small hill above a meadow, I followed a picket fence for several hundred yards, curious where it led. And then, without warning, the fence abruptly ended. A narrow ditch split the ground in two; on the other side, the fence continued on its way.