Our arrival in San Francisco just about coincided with the re-opening of the California St. Cable Car line. This means that one of my favorite schadenfreude occupations is gone. As this cable car is my route home from my super market, I rode the temporary shuttle often. Nearly every time I rode it, a gaggle of excited tourists would be waiting at a shuttle stop and stare askance at the ugly grey electric bus that approached the cable-car sign and opened it's doors. They would hesitate and then the driver (who often seemed less than pleased to be driving the bus instead of the cable car - - except when it was raining) would ask "You waiting for the cable car?" The tourists would nod excitedly, clutching their maps and travel guides. "You're gonna be waiting a long time! Haw! Haw! You'll be waitin' 'till June! Haw! Haw!" I would chuckle as well. Poor folks. What are they doing in that neighborhood if not for the thrill of riding that fabled San Francisco treat *ding ding*?
Now that I'm back, it's Pride month, it's summer time and apparently, the active cable car has not put an end to encountering the pain of visitors. The number of people chugging up Nob Hill has increased at least 3 fold and so now, whenever I head east from my apartment or arrive from the west, I encouter winded tourists. They reach the corner, almost, but not quite done with the blasted hill (the last street is the real killer). Often there are sharp words. One family member pants and then expreses their hatred of this idea in whatever their native language is. Poor sods.
I've just been touristing all over, so I don't feel bad smiling at these peoples frustration. It's a smile and chuckle of kinship. "Been there, brother." I think. I don't merely mean the trip we were just on where I pronounced things in a way that was comical to locals, or where I had to learn the value systems for certain types of etiquette. I mean that I have literally been there, on that corner of Pine and Powell, looked uphill, cussed under my breath, turned to my partner and said "naja, warum haben wir die Strasse gewählt?!?!?!"
Now we feel more or less at home here. Just in time to make preparations to leave. But before we do, we will wring this town of all the fun it offers. We'll enjoy it's parks, jump out of it's planes, see it's free movies in the parks, see it's fireworks, bathe at it's beaches, celebrate it's uniqueness.
Until then, I will unembarassedly continue my habit of cheering people as they climb the hill "Almost there! You've almost made it! Not much further now!!"