After dinner I felt like taking a walk. My neighborhood can be very either entertaining or threatening, depending on who's out and my own mood. At Geary and Jones a couple leans up against the wall of Rye, starting to argue. Down on the next block I pass a full backpack, abandoned on the cement slab of the parking lot between Jones and Taylor. The possible contents tempt me, but I keep walking.

East of Taylor is a man with a wielding a cane impersonating a blind man. He asks, "anyone going to the corner?" His act is so bad even the tourists ignore him. I watch for a minute, curious to see if he gets any bites. The bluffing blind man pulls a can of malt liquor from his coat and takes a couple of swigs. Then he asks, "anyone crossing the street?" I guess the sip made him want to go somewhere else.

At Mason a young woman totters out of Biscuit and Blues in incredibly tall heels she can't walk in and in an even more incredibly short skirt, which would work if she knew how to walk in her shoes, but doesn't and it doesn't. Her date looks like he's dressed for a tractor pull in his baseball cap and 3-sizes too large casual ensemble and at first I think they as mismatched as two young people on a date can be, and then realize they're perfect for one another.

I think about heading north up the hill, but I hear "Hey Joe" being played somewhere and keep walking toward music coming from the direction of Powell.

Crossing the street I make eye contact with an unusually attractive young woman. Too young for me, but she's stunning. I don't look away. Neither does she. Our heads turn 45 degrees, then ninety. I look forward again to make sure I don't walk into anyone, then back. She's doing the same. Smiling, I walk on, my night made.

Suddenly there's a gentle tap at my elbow. I turn and it's her. She has an incredibly kind, bright smile and says hello. I smile, shake my head without saying a word and walk toward the band, feeling mildly disappointed. If were single, drunk, and had my wallet with me, the night may have suddenly gone in a very different direction. Sadly, that probably would have meant jail, because when I think about it, women that good-looking aren't streetwalkers at that age. They're call girls, and it makes me think slightly less of our local police that they would send a decoy of that quality out to snare tourists. She wasn't dressed like a hooker, but rather like any other woman between 20 and 35 years old out for a night downtown, and that seems rather unfair to me. I mean if you're going to try to snare johns, at least use women who actually look like hookers if you're going to send them to Union Square.

The band is planted at Powell and Geary- a trio doing a set of material by The Jimi Hendrix Experience. They play one hit after another, play them well, and I can't leave because I'm enjoying everything they're doing. The guitar player imitates Hendrix musically and sartorially, though his voice really isn't any good at all. I've always found it amusing that Hendrix thought himself to be a poor singer.

Some people start dancing when the band launches into a driving version of "Purple Haze." Half a dozen songs in, they show no sign of slowing down, though by now it's almost 10:30 and they're playing pretty loud. The guitarist is using two small Marshall amps. I wonder about the guests of the Saint Francis Hotel who are trying to get some sleep and then I wonder about why I think about such things. I leave, knowing someone is waiting for me to return.

At Post and Powell an attractive, tall brunette of  a certain age with an amazing head of wild, curly hair staggers across the street, most likely to the Campton, if only because I can't for the life of me think of where else she can be headed on that side of the street, stumbling in that direction. I watch her stagger for a bit until I'm accosted by an idiot who calls me "Big Guy" and asks me what's happening.

Heading up Post, toward home again, a man offers me an "electronic man." At least it wasn't a woman's necklace and actually it did look pretty cool- like an R2D2 version of a Jerry Mahoney mannequin. I overhear a man tell his date to "go pee" and she wanders in front of me and into a doorway.

One of my least favorite neighborhood crackheads asks me for " a quarter, or anything at all," as I pass by him, my reply stone silence for what feels like the millionth time.

Heading down Leavenworth a couple wrestle playfully with one another. I think the rest of their night will go well.

Back on my own street, approaching my building, a guy dressed as Super Fly is yelling at someone walking ahead of me, vehemently calling him a "stupid, dirty motherfucker."

Home again.

Dedicated to Fog City Notes.

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