San Francisco

I sit on a closed off alleyway where people hustle to and fro while I sip coffee “That Doesn’t Suck,” according to the sign. I’m skeptical of the the promise, but the marketing ploy did work on me. I wanted to see what kind of establishment would advertise their beverage like this.

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People hustle to get their chores done or to their next meeting. On man stands smoking, another younger huffs an “e-cigaret,” which seems like a sad, strange alternative to the real thing.

I always wonder what people do and where they are rushing off to when I’m in an unfamiliar place. There are those that seem to have nothing better to do than wander the streets in the middle of the day. Dressed well, but seeming to have no real responsibility. Maybe I’m being judgemental, but don’t they work?

A woman paces the street, she’s been here since I sat down, she looks concerned, worried. Walking the length of the street, talking to someone on the phone.

There’s a beauty in the hubbub, of the city, excitement and life. Everything, always moving, but there’s a sorrow too. Don’t they grow tired? Where is the silence? The shelter from the storm? Don’t they want to stop and breath without the entire world bumping into them?

A part of me would love to live in a city a big city. Breath in unison with the masses, feel the flow of life, walk fast with the rush of a faceless humanity. The other part would like to flee to an island. Get to the edge of the world, where planning is key and the question of whether you have enough coffee and pork chops to last until the next time you go to town is more critical than how your portfolio is doing, because these things take a whole day.

The pacing woman looks happier now, less concerned. The worry has left her face. She still paces, but her step is lighter. More smokers have come and as many have gone.

We need to work, a reason and a purpose. Some who wander by look bored and I wonder if they work. Have they no purpose? Is it the lack of work or is there no purpose in their work disappearing back into the buildings.

My coffee is done. The advertisement was true, it didn’t suck.

It’s late now, or at least it feels it, and I am tired from walking all over the city. The million dollar ferry skitters across the bay, but it sounds like an old aluminum skiff. I can’t decide if the sound is discomforting or comforting. Discomforting because a large boat shouldn’t sound like the little skiffs I grew up with. Comforting because they do and it reminds me of home, of cold afternoons on the bays in Maine.

A large man sits in the seat next to me, invading my little corner of the world for this hour as we flee from one city and towards home, or the place we call home. Soon we’ll be racing across the narrow, terrifying levi roads, and a little while later I’ll be laying in my bed, finally resting my weary legs. For now though I sit day dreaming about what possibilities the future might hold. Feeling that recent, ever intensifying ache begging the question of what next? “Where to?” the adventurous heart begs, “where to?”

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