Thursday, September 2, 2010

Forgive me, San Francisco...

Everybody knows that when you live in an area that attracts tourists, that you never EVER go to those places where tourists congregate.  Ever.

I grew up in northeastern Ohio and never once visited the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame or the Football Hall of Fame.  Ohio is evidently very good at "halls of fame", but not much else.  That's really all Ohio has.  Oh, yes, and Amish places.  But I only went to see Amish stuff when out-of-town family members visited and my parents threatened me with bodily harm if I didn't shut up and show proper awe and appreciation in front of our guests for the dozen or so Amish cheese factories that I was forced to endure on any given trip.

So when my brother called to ask me if he and my niece could come out to California and stay with me for a week to "see the sights", I knew I was fucked.

As a current resident of the San Francisco Bay Area, I have intentionally avoided many of the most well-known attractions in the area.  Don't get me wrong...I'll admit freely that I've caved on a few.  You try living in San Francisco with a child and NOT take a ride on the cable cars.  I dare you.

However, I have gazed across the bay at Alcatraz hundreds of times and never felt the slightest interest in joining the herds of tourists who make the pilgrimage to the Rock.

But my brother wanted to see Alcatraz.  He's from Ohio and technically a tourist, so he's allowed.

I'm a resident.  Visiting Alcatraz is most definitely against the "code of residents".


I wanted to be a good sister and aunt and host though, so I caved, loaded my houseguests and the Princess in the car and headed to the pier to catch a ferry to Alcatraz.

For breaking the code, I fully expected the ferry to sink or for Clint Eastwood to pull me into a cell and take me from behind (oh, wait, that one isn't necessarily a bad thing), but it was uneventful and moderately entertaining.

So strapping Clint Eastwood to my body under a large coat and impersonating a pregnant woman would be frowned upon?

You can't just "take the tour".  You have to "live the tour", right?  I wore a stripped scarf for costume authenticity.

Yah, yah...there's pretty scenery too.  I tried to blend in by asking my fellow tourists what large beautiful city this was in a non-specific European accent.

I inevitably had to pay the karmic price for breaking the resident code.  I came back from Alcatraz to a big fat ticket on my car for parking in a private lot illegally.  Evidently, the dude that I paid $20 to in order to park my car wasn't actually technically "employed" by the lot and walked away with a nice crisp $20 bill.  

(For the record, I argued with the company that owned the lot and made the - I think - valid point that they should really do a better job of monitoring their lots in order to prevent this type of fraud.  No response.  I paid the fine.  CENTRAL PARKING CAN SUCK MY ASS!  I may start off every posting from now on with CENTRAL PARKING CAN SUCK MY ASS!)

I feel better now.

Anyway.  I had already tempted fate and lost so I figured that I had nothing else to lose and volunteered to take my guests to the mother of all Northern California tourist spots....Monterey.  Home of wildlife, beaches, golf courses, and shameless John Steinbeck souvenirs. 

If you follow the random goings-on in Northern California, you would know that the famous sea lions of San Francisco's Pier 39 up and left for the most part a few months ago.  They were predominantly male and I suspect that they were just kinda pissed off that their marriages had been revoked by Prop 8 so they deserted in protest.  Just a theory.  

Nobody really knew where these proud gay sea lions went.

Well, I found them!  In Monterey, baby!

Proud gay sea lion.

Proud gay sea lion pack (or herd or flock or gaggle or swarm or something) in Monterey.  But, seriously, no proud gay anything should smell this bad.  Can nobody quietly slip them some Axe Body Spray and a breath mint?

So, forgive me, San Francisco.  I have sinned and broken the code...but I paid $20 to the universe and found your damn sea lions.

We're even.

"Fuck you, Jane.  I smell fabulous!"


  1. Ah. You make me laugh. Those sea lions do have a funk about them. Did your brother make you go to ghiradelli square too?

  2. LMAO on getting taken for $20. Sorry, but that's damn funny. I do understand the tourist stuff. When my son comes down in the summer is when they're all open here and I my wallet gets taken in A LOT.

  3. I've never been to San Fran and now I feel I've gotten the tour...does this mean I owe you $20 bucks?

    I'm so glad you found the gay sea lions. All of us gays were worried about them. They don't call, they don't write...

  4. you its like that everywhere... you live close to it.. you never go and if you dont you want too...


  5. Damn it's been a while; back when I lived down there Alcatraz didn't allow the "tourists" to leave. (I remember the big escape too, and it wasn't Clint Eastwood).

    We had relatives come out from South Dakota so we had to show them around; obligatory cable cars (they are NOT TROLLY CARS, thank you!). They were disappointed that the Golden Gate bridge was orange. It was a rare day, we could see the Farallon Islands from the Cliff House.. they thought they were seeing Hawaii. They ate crab for the first time in their lives.

    I'd like to go back some day and bring my wife, show her where I used to live and where my high school (San Carlos) used to be. Kind of miss the place a bit.

  6. You should have taken them on a walk down Market Street. Then they'd have told everyone else what a terrible place S.F. is and you'll never have another visitor.
    BTW - did you have to drive to The City?

  7. Rudy - yah, we did Ghiridelli Sqaure too but I don't really count it because there is ice cream involved and even residents need ice cream.

    Mike - NOW I can laugh. Then...not so much.

    Willow - Keep the $20 darlin. I'm afraid if I got it back I'd be in debt to the universe again.

    Sir Thomas - Aint that the truth.

    Robert - Yes, they are not trolleys and we are not San Fran ((shudder)) and I love that the Golden Gate Bridge is orange. You definitely need to visit soon! You might have officially fallen back into tourist status and could do all the fun things again.

    IT - I tossed around the idea of a walking tour through the Tenderloin, but decided to let them discover that on their own on a day I couldn't go with them. And, yes, I did drive. I live down the peninsula and think the BART is a pain in the ass. (Dude, you totally speak like a resident. Well done.)

  8. I LOVE that you succumned to the tourist in you. The first 28 years of my life were spent in Hawaii, so trust me when I tell you I know your pain.

    The Alcatraz fashion kicked ass.


  9. I think you are already forgiven. When I was up there a couple of weeks ago, a native San Franciscan took me on a whirlwind tour of the city--which she knows like the back of her hand--and I was so grateful! She showed me all the best spots. It was 9:00 pm so there weren't crowds to speak of. I loved it! And wasn't that view of the city worth your trip to Alcatraz? I never tire of staring at it.

  10. You are funny. I have crossed the Bay Bridge to hit Alcatraz only when I had family in town. I still feel like a tourist just going into SF from the East Bay.

  11. hahahaha! You're still so funny! Have missed reading your stuff.

    Too bad you couldn't have used the 20 to pay for the smelly sea lion solution.

    Also, I totally lived by that code when I lived in Yosemite for a summer, and now that I live here in Austin.

    When I lived in Las Vegas, though, for 6 years, I did all kinds of touristy things all the time. And LOVED it. A little too much love, really. And I only now understand why I had to pay the universe so much money over all those broken tourist-resident codes. Thanks for explaining it to me. It all makes sense now.