I freakin’ love San Francisco. I mean, I love it.

It’s a weird hybrid of its own unique spirit and architecture and people, and the parts of my home town of Melbourne that make Melbourne, Melbourne. The trams, the street art, the tiny pockets of arts and culture, the live music, the bookstores (and the books)… the mix of parks and streets; green and grey. Progressive politics and e-commerce side by side; innovation and cultural projects and tiny bars down tiny streets that you have to know about to get to.

And, also, Zoe Brock!

I hadn’t seen Zoe since my last (and first) trip out to LA, in September 2009. Over the course of our knowing each other, she’s put me up, bought me lunch, brought me into the fold of TNB, and a million other wonderful things. We kicked back in a bar in the Mission with old friends and new faces; I drank vodka gimlets as Quinn the bartender quizzed me on Australia, the soccer World Cup played on the TV screens, and varied people, weary and drained from the fiesta of Pride, wandered in and out of the place.

Ah, San Francisco. I think it’s about time again, don’t you?

The four days back there were a hustle from place to place – seeing the people I needed to see, meeting the people I wanted to meet, buying the underwear I so, so sorely needed to buy. Walking down Market Street was like walking through a portal in time that took me straight back to 2008.

But with more parades.

Which kinda sucks for me, because it meant I was forced to confront the cold knowledge that San Francisco doesn’t view me as deserving of a parade just for me yet.


I spoke to Zara every day, I think, as the two of us advised each other of where we were going and who we were seeing. It’s hard to believe that we haven’t known each other for a full year, yet, but that’s the way of it – it was that trip to LA in 2009 when Zara and I met for the first time; an odd thing to reflect on, now.

But I digress.

The weather was perfect and I criss-crossed the city over the days I was there – from downtown to the Castro, the Mission to Van Ness, coffees and breakfasts and dinners and drinks. And all too soon, I was sitting on the Muni on the last day and riding that sucker out to SFO to board the plane back to LA. I knew that the next flight I got would take me over the Pacific and back to Australia, and it was scant days away.

But first.

First, I had another year to cross off the calendar.

Also, I had to see Eclipse.

And I wanted to see if the America pants Zara and Reno had seen in a store window were still available.

Los Angeles and I had some unfinished business of our own.

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SIMON SMITHSON is an Australian writer and editor. He is currently based in Melbourne, Australia, but frequently finds himself in Los Angeles and San Francisco. His work has appeared on both sides of the globe in print and online in publications such as BLIP, Every Day Fiction, Beat, The Loop, My Sinking Boat, and more. He has a tumblr at www.simonsmithson.com and he runs a lifestyle experiment at www.selfhelpless.net.

9 responses to “TPAC 2010 – Day 28, 29, 30: San FranDisco!”

  1. Zara Potts says:

    It was so weird you being in SF, Brew. I felt like I was missing an arm or something.
    And yes, it is really weird that it’s not even a full year since we met! And look at us – company directors! Ha Ha! Coraje, brew.

    • Simon Smithson says:

      God, that was weird. Talk about flipping backwards and forwards through different lives… I started the trip catching up with my friend Ben in LA, who I went to high school with. Spent a month on the road with you, brew, and then back to SF. Temporal shifts and shifting temperaments…


  2. Gloria says:

    I totally thought you and Zara were old friends. Interesting.

    I’m surprised that your SF write up is shorter than your Gary, Indiana one. I thought San Francisco was to you what The Seven Cities of Gold was to Francisco Vásquez de Coronado. Interesting.

  3. Joe Daly says:

    Brother, thanks for reminding me how effing rad and awesome SF is. I haven’t been there in quite awhile and have had a strange craving for a roadtrip up there for the past couple weeks. The new gf has indicated a similar interest, so I think we’re heading up there in the near future for a super fun weekend. There’s nothing like the energy of San Francisco on a crisp fall day, and I for one, am looking forward to rolling some pimping up and down it’s storied hills.

    Is there a post from either you or Zara on how you guys met? That in and of itself sounds like a fantastic story.

    Come to think of it, it would be pretty funny to find out how other TNBers first met each other. I imagine lots of fun times at TNB readings. But you two- you travelin’ fools- you guys are way spesh.

    Pimp on, Daddy-O!

    • Simon Smithson says:

      Oh, man, I’d marry SF if it would just break up with that goddamn little village it’s been seeing for I don’t know how lo-

      I mean, what?

      Whoa, whoa, whoa… new GF?

      Also: sir! Nice use of the phrase storied!

      Z and I met through TNB, at the airport with Duke Haney. It’s a good story.

      And you are also way cheery, sir.

      Pimping away, Captain!

      • Zara Potts says:

        Travelin’ fools. I like it, Brew.
        We met at LAX in September last year, Joe. Simon flew in a couple of hours ahead of me and Duke picked him up and they went out for lunch and then kindly came back and picked me up when my flight arrived. Honestly though, even though I’d never met him – as soon as I saw Simon, I felt like I’d known him forever.
        We’ve been brewing ever since.

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