Summers in SF are great. Sure it can be a bit chilly (how do you tell an SF tourist in July? He’s wearing shorts and a $40 ‘Fog City’ pink hoodie he just bought on the Wharf in an act of desperation), but in a city with no air conditioning to speak of, you’ll learn to take chilly over hot ANY DAY. The best part though, is the transplants that the summer months bring. In a city of transients, summertime in SF brings even more change, where friends old and new descend upon the Bay for trips and internships of all kinds.
I’ve always been one to get along with folks younger than me much easier than my peers (the result of years of peer bullying? a persistent lack of maturity? let’s not think about this too hard), so the summertime is a welcome opportunity to mentor and hang with the college aged kids joining my workplace, and visiting the Bay. In addition to those, there comes the influx of graduate interns, where long lost friends you forgot you loved take your city for a test run. It’s a perfect time to reconnect, nuzzle up to old memories, and show off all SF’s got to offer.
On one such evening of exposing SF nightlife, I left my apartment to meet an out of town friend at Infusion for his birthday. I should have predicted that SF would be at its SF-iest, but for whatever reason these things always surprise.
It started as soon as I exited my front door: I heard a slow clap. Two guys who were drinking from paper bags in the middle of my very busy street looked up at me, suspiciously put their drinks down, to give me this deliberate and uncomfortable applause. It lasted for half a block.
At that halfway point, I was met with a sobbing man in the act of slamming a full can of soda against a brick wall just in front of me. Sticky liquid threatened to soak me, but I dodged that shit like the matrix (like ya do).
Finally out of harm’s way, I set to walk the few blocks to the club. SF had jokes (of course) and a sudden wind blew my shirt above my head. My work-in-progress belly was exposed for all to see. Rude.
I finally get inside the club. I turn to my phone to try to track down my friend and his companions, but have no luck. I decide to do a couple of laps. Infusion is in the heart of downtown, so I assume it won’t be too hard to spot a tall Black guy with a few friends, at least one of whom must be Black as well. This is San Francisco after all. The odds of my seeing a Black person that I don’t recognize after four years of inhabitance are quite slim indeed.
But this night was different. OH WAS IT DIFFERENT. There were men everywhere. All kinds of men. Tall men. Gorgeous men. Tall gorgeous men. Tall gorgeous Black men in nice clothes; men with sweet smiles; men in a cloud of alluring fragrance. I grab a drink to hold as a prop, and commence with the laps. Once around the main floor. Tip-toes to peer into various VIP sections. Pushing through drunkards to inspect a back room. No luck, no luck, no luck. I’m growing anxious. I can’t be in my right mind and stay at a club of any kind by myself. I text an old friend who doesn’t live in the city that I am in a place called “Infusion” just in case I turn up missing later. She thanks me and says she has the PoPo on speed dial.
A girl can never be too safe these days.
After about a half hour of searching, calling, texting, and gaping, I realize that my friend is no where to be found. I need to leave. Annoyed, I head back upstairs to call an Uber. As I wait for my car, an old Drake’s Pimp Daddy looking man asked (aggressively) if he could take me to breakfast so we could “conversate.” After the night I’d had, and the pretty people who’d been just beyond reach, I was in no mood to deal with this mess. I wasn’t in Philadelphia, where the cat-calls and belligerent negroes were expected and par for the course. I was in San Francisco, where the trade off for the general lack of Blacks (sad face) was that we didn’t have to deal with this kind of ignorance.
“Please! Please. I’m not interested. No thank you,” I say.
“Oh! Don’t flatter yourself!” He responds. “I just wanted to take you to breakfast, but I see you’re going to flatter yourself!”
I’m sorry to let readers and my parent know that instead of just keeping my mouth shut and ignoring this fogey-fool, I looked at old pimp, rolled my eyes, and said:
“WHATEVER GETS YOU TO SLEEP AT NIGHT HOMIE.”
Apparently, I’d reached my breaking point on number of “You ain’t even that cute NO way!” one can endure without shrieking. It’s not the assumption that I, as a woman, am yours for the taking… No, it’s more the complete lack of logic. It’s the kind of thing that makes your scream in your head: IF I WASN’T CUTE, WHY YOU WAS TRYNA TALK TO ME ANYWAYS?!
Lucky for me, my car arrived at just the instant to save me from myself. I headed to the sanctity and safety of my home, ready to face the mean streets of SF another day.