Blog 71: How to Walk in Downtown San Francisco
In taking a break from the serious writing connotations that have been dancing from my fingertips as of late, I thought a tutorial would be much more appropriate for this week…cause walking in downtown San Francisco can be a bitch and a half…totally.
Yet strutting in the city by the bay is the best way to get around…a bus may take 30 minutes with all the stops it makes, while traversing will take 45 minutes, doesn’t smell horrid like Muni, you can smoke pot and amble, obtain exercise and absorb so much more of San Francisco.
That being said, there is an art to ambulating…there is pivoting, ducking, gentle pushing, galloping, fake-right-move-left-action-ness and so forth. Being a professional City Prancer I thought I should lay out some basic ground rules…
Rule One: Swim like the Salmon Bitches
This is probably the most important rule, and sets the tone for the lesson. Walking in a straight line is not an option, there are just way too many people moving at different paces for you to be sedentary in your movements….Zigging and Zagging are crucial, sometimes you might have to take the inside, from time to time you need to make big moves from the outside. I try to stay on the outer perimeter so I only have people flanked to one side of me making it easier to map out my routes.
Please note: Swimming like the Salmon also involves changing of pace…while you can mosey down the street plucking away at the current there are times when you must go for a speed walking burst (sucking in your stomach encourages this to be achieved faster) in order to accomplish avoiding a cluster of tourists pointing upward at a dead halt.
Rule Two: Look Ahead and Think Out your next 5 Moves
To properly swim upstream, one must think ahead…what is the point of taking the inside to avoid a group if at the end of the masses lies a homeless person with a dog that is creating a major road block. Your moves should have afterthought to the next move…if you can avoid the group by taking the inside and cut them off in just enough time to miss the dog on the side and take a sharp right angle to get around dude not paying attention on his cell phone and still make the light…than you are thinking your shit out right.
Rule Three: Avoid the Inside whenever Possible, but Don’t get hit by a Car (crucial.)
Who wants to be flanked by a wall…nobody…especially one that might have been urinated on…this is always something to ponder while mapping out your marching route in your head…and there is often more room on the outside…that being said, for the love of all that is holy, look out for the two ton vehicles as well as insane bikers when you are doing your side stepping, (remember these are people just as bonkers as both you and I, but in cars…yikes)…and whether your move takes you to the inside or the outside, make sure you have at least two escape options…cause sometimes you gotta to use Plan B.
Rule Four: Follow the Lights
When taking off for your destination, start by walking in the general direction, to become more time efficient simply follow the lights, when one light turns red…turn down the street avoiding having to pause for red lights and have the green lights lead you to your journey’s end.
Rule Five: Shit Check (Don’t forget the “Tenderloin Shit Shuffle” dance…Blog 9)
While you always need to be looking ahead, you also need to keep your eyes flashing on the ground, for you never know what craziness will be waiting for you...from shit, to puke, to a tomato, a Jehovah Witness…you never know what is hiding between those feet on the sidewalk…strolling in San Francisco is like driving, you got to be aware of all angles.
(Also as far as pigeons are concerned, if you are going to look up at them as they zoom by your head, just make sure you keep your mouth shut…cause getting shit on by a pigeon is one thing, having the shit land in your mouth is a whole new ball game (I do not speak from experience…but simply a small nightmare that flashes through my head when I approach a bevy of the winged rats)…and whoever is the ding dong that keeps on feeding the pigeons, freaking stop…they get enough crap to eat, there is no need to encourage them to congregate on street corners.)
Rule Six: Yelling “RAT” can thin a Crowd
At the heart of Union Square the crowds can look like small armies and make crossing the street seem almost impossible…if you find yourself holding up the rear of a gaggle needing to move fast, simply yell in your most petrified voice, “RAT, RAT, RAT, oh my God, there is a RAT.”…one will be amazed at how quickly the scores thin giving you a chance to part the sea of people and make it across the intersection.
Rule Seven: Don’t Text & Walk
Talking on the phone is okay in a throng of people, even though I find it kinda useless since my hearing sucks, but to text and walk is not okay…save that for when you hit Nob Hill and can saunter in a straight line…there is no point to become one of those speed bump people…there are enough of those out there already without you adding yourself to the equation…besides, having your phone out is just asking for it to get stolen…this is the city peeps, and don’t even think about pulling out your fancy phone in the Tenderloin…do you know how much crack someone can get in exchange for one of those nice phones…don’t even try to find out….
Rule Eight: You can always avoid a Hill (why would you want to)
Since I am always looking for ways to improve my ass…I never avoid the sky scrapper hills that adorn this city…that being said, if you are feeling a little tired, just progress five minutes to the right or the left and you can usually find a flatter route. For example…in walking to California Street from downtown, the steepest hills are on Jones, Taylor & Mason. Leavenworth is a gradual hill and much more do-able, as well as Stockton Street has a tunnel to avoid any uphill action…a few more blocks over Kearny Street almost goes downward…that being said, the best views are from Taylor Street…see the hills aren’t just butt improving…they capture breathtaking visions as well.
Rule Nine: Wear Shoes you can Walk in
I always say that you don’t need a TV living in this city; cause there is free TV everywhere. One of my favorite channels is the “Watching Chicks try to Walk in the Craziest Heels Ever.”…after hours it turns saucier with, “Watching Drunk Chicks try to Walk in the Craziest Heels Ever.” Experiencing this program results with the audience gasping, pointing, big eyes, sideway glances, soft smiles and snorting laughter…(if you are like me and snort when you laugh)…I have never understood the idea of walking in shoes that you can’t…WALK IN…isn’t that what shoes are for…it is this simple fact that for me, makes the station even that much more entertaining.
And boys, you don’t get off on this rule…I’m all about equality. Just the other day I saw homie high stepping down the street in a pair of cowboy boots that were obviously two sizes too big for him…and he wasn’t fooling me, I knew that he hadn’t just gotten off a horse…this is San Francisco buddy…there ain’t no horses round here…if you are wearing shoes that in order to keep on your feet when you walk you have to point outward, lift five inches off the ground and heel-toe it in slow motion, than maybe you might want to find a pair of shoes that stay on your feet…a princess is just saying…
Rule Ten: Always be Polite
No matter what kind of hurry you are in, how dense the tourist can be to their effects of the flow of foot traffic, even if the dig dong ahead has started to meander backwards instead of forward do to their love affair with their Iphone…shit happens, and part of living in this great city, is letting people do what the fuck they need to do and what makes them happy…they are not purposely trying to get in your way…but are simply obstacles in what can be quite an amusing course. Saying, “Excuse me, Pardon me, Oops and Sorry” are quite crucial…and just as others might make you shake your head, you might do the same for them…swimming like a freaking fish down a city street…you might even knock your tail against someone in your quest for dinner and a cocktail…But we all need to get where we need to go…and there is never any point to being rude to nobody.
I did mention walking makes your ass look better…right.
DANCE MOVE OF THE WEEK
PICKING OUT THE PERFECT RECORD
(if you are like me and are re-organizing your records…this is an awesome dance move to accomplish)
Start by flipping through your precious vinyl…pull out a record and look at it, maybe even open it up and scroll your finger down the inside…hmmmm, not quite what you wanted…put is back, flip, flip, flip….wait a minute, flip back….pull out the record…smell it…ohhh the vinyl was dusty but the music was clean….as you take the record from its case give it a little wink and a smile…place it down on the player, arc the needle up and softly place it home…and let the music take you away.