Blisters

The train I take leaves at least an hour later than I intended. I woke up too late to go when I planned. I hate rushing in the morning, and I can barely get myself out the door at the right time even with a leisurely 2-hour space this morning. I figure that still gives me plenty of time in the city, so I don’t feel bothered.

Emerging from the train, I strike out on 4th Street for a bit. It’s in the right general direction. There isn’t really much to see yet, and I’m concentrating on where I’m heading anyway.

I turn on Mission Street, having planned a route to Market Street that brings me very near the part of Castro I want to start up. I think I confused the Mission District with Mission Street. Whatever the case is there, I walk for a long time without seeing anything good. I turn onto 16th Street, very far from where I started, and I’m met with color, store names in Spanish, and lots of restaurants. As much as I love restaurants, they aren’t what I want to see right now. Their presence becomes an aggravation.

I am headed toward Market again now, once again not seeing too much of interest. I’ve been walking for almost an hour, Market Street is a little farther away than I realized, and I’m feeling rather negative about this whole excursion. Just when the frustration is almost too much, I finally reach Market Street. A bit more in the way of stores now, and I am at least in the area I chose for exploration. Having already walked so much kind of ruins that area for me, however…

I turn the wrong way down Castro Street, which I’m sure I would like if I got to see more of the good parts. I have lunch at The Posh Bagel, whose coffee I like so far. I am hungry by then, but the lunch break doesn’t really make me feel better. After half an hour or so, I get up and head out. I plan to turn back up Castro, but I spot the awning of The Body Shop and I wonder if I should buy some of the coconut lotion I don’t have just now. I go in, smell things, sample a few “try me” items, but decide not to spend money on anything just now. I leave without any merchandise and start walking toward Haight Street. (Pronounced “hate” – which makes me hate the name.)

The part of Castro I’m now on is lots of uphill, more residential than anything else. A young-ish woman is moving out or moving in – she has a stack of boxes and furniture out on the sidewalk. A man walks two shaggy black spaniels past me. They’re very cute animals. I decide that residential areas of San Francisco are pretty but BORING. I want shops and cafes. Where are they all?

At Haight Street, finally, I make the mistake of turning onto the lower part. There are more stores here than anywhere else I’ve seen so far, I think, but too many buildings are just houses or businesses. Later, when I look at my San Francisco guidebook, I will note that all the stores I wanted to see were in fact UP Haight and I am stupid not to have turned left there. For now, I just keep walking, back toward Market Street and the train station.

I have blisters on the balls of both feet, first noticed when I finally sat down at the Posh Bagel. My bag is heavy on my shoulder – I could have cut down the weight a little by leaving my sweatshirt and scarf, neither of which I needed during the day – and my mood has really not improved at all. I walk over a collection of nails scattered on the sidewalk. How much more appropriate for the day it would be for them to stick straight up through the soles of my shoes.

Market Street. I pass by a theater showing huge signs for Wicked, which I would love to see if I had a friend to go with and the money to spare. I stop again in a square with a fountain whose name I can’t remember. Here I look at my guidebook, which would have been helpful if I had thought more like a tourist to begin with. I think that maybe a short rest will improve things, but it doesn’t. After a short time I give up and start walking again. I finally reach a more densely retailed section of the city, featuring large, multi-story stores with names I recognize like Forever 21 and Anthropologie. Here are stores I would like to browse in, STORES at all normal and I’m too emotionally tired to care anymore.

The train station is a few blocks away now. That’s not so far. Farther than my blisters would prefer, but not bad. I try to notice stores as I walk, but I could not name a single one now. Except for starbucks. I saw at least four of those in the rather small section of the city I did see. At the station, the day is over. I have to wait about five minutes to get on the train, and then it’s all out of my hands until it hits the Mountain View stop.

I seem to be unable to enjoy San Francisco. I thought that going by myself was better than waiting until someone had time to go with me, but now I think I was wrong. I failed completely today at everything I was aiming for. I spent hours walking along streets that should have had a lot to see and all I have to show for it are these god-forsaken blisters. Moving to San Francisco was meant to be exciting and fun, really, but at this point I’m about a hair’s breadth from a breakdown.

An Unfortunate Triangle

An Unfortunate Triangle

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~ by plaidlylush on October 6, 2009.

3 Responses to “Blisters”

  1. New cities are challenging to navigate, but you are doing it, blisters and all, frustrations and finds.
    Next time you’re near a Body Shop, reward yourself with Coconut Lotion!

  2. Oh, I’m so sorry for this bad experience! SF is a great place, and you will get to see it correctly. I wish I were there.

  3. I wish I were there too! Honestly, SF is a very, very, very cool city — and I’ve been to many and lived in a few. As much as I love Boston, it doesn’t have much on SF… Hang in there. Once you get more oriented, you’re gonna like the place. There are many, many cool shops and cafes and more.

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