What I Saw In San Francisco, And What I Learned (Tomorrow, Part 2)


Scenes for a novel that will probably never be written, but ought to be.

1. Three of us were travelling to Haight Ashbury.  It  ought to be in a time machine, but it was a plain old city bus.  However there was a time machine in front of us. It was really a tour bus, painted like the old VW vans of the 60’s on their way to the Summer of Love. (1967)  Peace signs front and back, flowers and other foliage in wonderful colors, some of the finest graffiti ever.   And, pouring out of the windows-bubbles-lots and lots of bubbles, large and small. Seemingly from nowhere.  Nothing obvious, like little children with tiny plastic wands sitting at the windows.  It was as if the bus was producing the bubbles for our entertainment.  The bubbles floated back and up, just as magical as they always have been; rainbows captured for just seconds, and just for us on our way to a magical mystery tour.


2.  On the front steps of one of the most dignified of the cities ‘painted ladies’–the wonderful Victorian homes painted so imaginatively.  Paint jobs in multiple colors. As I said, this one had gone for dignified, navy blue, maroon, dark green and a lot of dark gold trim.  And there, sitting on the stairs painted pewter, about twenty people had gathered for a group portrait.  (Did I mention it was Saint Patrick’s Day?)  Each person on the stairs was wearing various shades of bilious ‘paddy’ green, hats, t-shirts, feather boas, sneakers, socks and jackets.  All shades of St. Pat’s green, all perfectly awful.  They had their green arms around each other’s green shoulders.  Some wore their green bowler hats and some had lent them to one or two of the leprechauns with them.    I’m sure they had just had green bagels for lunch, topped off with green cream cheese (shudder) And somehwere in the crowd I’m sure there was green beer.

I also think I saw the house trying to cringe away from them.  If that painted lady could have upped and walked away, disowning the whole bunch of them, I’m sure she’d have done it.

About Brenda Barrie

Brenda Barrie has had a career as a Jewish communal professional in her hometown, Winnipeg, Canada, in Minneapolis, Baltimore and Orange County, California. Previously a feature writer and editor, she has brought her range of skills and her travels to her two novels, The Binding and The Rabbi’s Husband, and to her volume of poetry, Full Speed. Full Stop.
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