There are a few things that I particularly covet about life in this jewel of a City on the Bay: the mild winters and mostly cool summers, walks along the Embarcadero watching the boats come in and go out, the dusty beat streets of North Beach, the best marijuana in the world, even better than that Moroccan hash, or that opiated Afghani shit that made a brief and enjoyable appearance for five minutes in the mid 90s…….and the time of year when we get those delicate fresh figs with their easily bruised dark purple-black skins and sweet meat, that are so small and sweet I can pop entire figs into my mouth and let myself slip away in candied mary jane dreams.
I put on Warren Zevon, make a cup of Cafe Trieste Italian Roast, and sit in perfect happiness for a perfect little 20 minute break from writing. I am working on a short story for Zoetrope’s annual short story competition, and my brain feels as if it has been baked by this heatwave we have been suffering through. Figs don’t travel well, not in their fresh superior form. I know I couldn’t have this purple haze and fresh fig delight of an afternoon anywhere else in the world. The marine layer breeze blowing back through, now Karl the Fog is back from his summer vacation cools the room adequately. I have a new notebook. A good pen and the sounds of Los Angeles fill the high ceilings of this sweet little apartment. I think it is the definition of contentment, for me at least.
Fresh figs and mary jane, sea breezes and century old apartments don’t travel well. It is a peculiarly specific to time, season and place experience. Some things cannot be recreated. Hot coffee and a pastry in 1990 something in a Chelsea coffee shop, looking out into rapidly cooling autumnal Manhattan streets. Japan Obon festivals. Kyoto summer shaved ices with green tea syrup and sweet red beans. The smell of my father’s pipe as he drives us down a steep road to go and visit his girlfriend’s horses. The vinegary heaven of a bag of good dope. The sweet touch of a hand on mine as I turn to sleep in a cold tent. Burnt tasting metallic tea out of a dirty travel mug and a granola bar on the road, wild flowers in an old sprite can, watching the Rockies roll on by. None of it can be reproduced. I can only hope for another sweet fresh California fig late summer haze next year…if I survive that long and can stay where I love and need to be.
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