Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Nurse the Hate: Hate Fortifieds Part 2

I went to San Francisco this weekend in what has become a regular trip.  I’m starting to understand the feel of the city.  A few quick words on SF…  The homeless situation is completely out of hand.  I remember what New York was like in the early 80s.  San Francisco has that beaten hands down.  Every block has someone drenched in their own urine talking to themselves.  Mentally ill people sleep in doorways all over town.  I don’t know if the sheer expense of living in San Francisco drove them crazy or an indication of how crazy they are is to stay in a city with dodgy weather and lots of fog.  If I’m homeless, I hop a freight to LA where at least the weather is good while I shuffle around in my filthy urine soaked pants.  I’m pragmatic that way.

San Francisco is so expensive, I have no idea how anyone actually lives there.  I had a $27 breakfast, which was a bowl of cereal with yogurt and an espresso.  I felt like I got off cheap too.  It’s an amazing city, maybe America’s best, but I don’t know if I’m a good enough counterfeiter to pull off printing up enough hundreds to live in my own squalid one bedroom apartment there.  I’m hemorrhaging money the second I get off my flight.  I’m going to work on throwing a baseball 96 miles an hour with my left hand as it seems as a member of the Giants I could probably afford a 500 square foot place with a garage space somewhere in town. 

I spent the weekend drinking fortified wines in a windowless conference room in a Holiday Inn in pursuit of the WSET Level 4 graduate fortified unit degree.  It’s sort of an odd way to spend two days.  Imagine if you will twenty people in a room debating the acidity level of a Madeira, a wine that NO ONE actually drinks.  In fact, I think because we sampled four of them, the West Coast Madeira sales figures went up 20%.  Right now there are a couple of guys on the island of Madeira 600 miles off Portugal saying “Ricardo!  Look at this report!  We are up 20%!  San Francisco is embracing our madeiras!  We must make more!  At last the tastemakers have found us!  Whip the slaves!  We must have more wine!”.

I took a break and went to the men’s room.  There was an enormous ballroom next door, which was hosting a conference of some kind.  There was an air of apprehension in the people.  It had the feel of some kind of self-help retreat.  I sized up the people talking in small groups.  It looked like a group of people that had met with a lot of failure and had decided to pick themselves up and make one last try.  There had been many days of darkness and little hope.  Now they were taking a chance.  Maybe this would be the answer.  When I went in the men’s I happened to walk in the same time as a balding skinny guy with really bad teeth.  “So…  How’s it going for you today in session?”  I told him I was well but I wasn’t part of his group.  I asked what he was doing.  “It’s a seminar on communication…  How to communicate better… interpersonally mostly…”  I felt sad.  He just didn’t fit in and was trying as hard as he could to find his spot.  There was no seminar that would help.  Something was just off about him.

I told him I was in a wine class.  He took it to mean I was getting loaded and added an awkward “hahahaha”. I told him it was learning about wines he’d probably never heard of in seeking a high level certification.  He asked what kind of wines.  I answered Fino sherries and 20 year tawny ports.  He stared blankly flashing his yellowed teeth with wide gaps at the gum line.  He had no idea what the fuck I was talking about.  He made me uncomfortable.  He probably makes everyone uncomfortable.  I offered him good luck on his workshop, both of us knowing how it would end. He said “Always trying to get better!”.  See you later.  I walked out and noticed a woman crying in a chair listening to an older man, both of them wearing stick on nametags.  I went back into the class.  There had been a PX sherry poured while I was gone.  I felt sorry for the guy with the teeth.  It flashed into my head that maybe he felt sorry for me as he was finishing washing his hands as I exited.

That’s the kind of town San Francisco is…    


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