They are coming – over the bridges and through the tunnels
They come, seduced by the Siren’s song of concerts, bright lights, the ice rink in Union Square, comedy clubs, theater, and a galaxy of two and three star restaurants. They leave the predictability and the vast free parking lots of the suburbs and head for the bright lights and sophistication of the City.
She is brushed, buffed and shiny. Women of an age wear the classic Eileen Fisher uniform. Big price tag, clean lines, sensual fabrics; add the requisite, chunky, expensive necklace. It’s the au courant uniform of choice. A designer handbag, the size of a small suitcase, is the result of a ubiquitous knock-off purse party or the real deal. He wears the guy’s uniform: a Tommy Bahamas shirt, Tony Soprano – like slacks and Italian tasseled-loafers. Swathed in layers of wool coats, scarves, and gloves, they brace themselves.
There goes the neighborhood
The $6 Golden Gate Bridge / $5 Bay Bridge entrance fee to the City is only the beginning (sound of cash register ringing). Parking meters ($.25 buys two minutes) inhale quarters. Parking lots ($16 for three hours) and free valet parking ($20 service charge) are deemed highway robbery. So they pull their lips over their teeth with that faux grin and start counting. Is it worth it?
Who knew the hot, haute, hot new restaurant was in the unpredictable Tenderloin? And, the theater, too? They had to wade through a battalion of beggars. They were perplexed and chagrined to see doorways filled with men, in sleeping bags, asleep on piles of cardboard.
At Cafe de la Depressing, the lentil soup was $9. When did entrees skyrocket to $30? A trendy Thai (Got cha now?) restaurant charges $8 for a cup of imported red rice. Pricey rice? In Rice a Roni land? One drink at the hotel lobby bar was $16. Theater tickets? Priceless, because they refuse to admit what they paid for them. It was a play about a goat.
Home again, home again
The Bridge and Tunnelers are torn. Can they admit a trip to San Francisco was tedious, depressing and exorbitant? They found the restaurants too rich for their blood. The streets were dirty and a small army of homeless was sleeping in doorways. Parking was a nightmare and getting out of the jam-packed garage felt like Sisyphus – going nowhere fast.
As they pulled into their own garages, the Over the Bridge through the Tunnelers are relieved and relaxed to be home and they wonder: what ever to happened to San Francisco?
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