Earlier this month I was taking the bus home from downtown. I showed my transfer and boarded the bus. As soon as I looked up for a seat I knew I was in trouble. It was an accordion bus: after a long day, Gertie doesn't want to walk an extra inch. And what the accordion bus is at 8:10pm, is the "half-assed Express." That means that it is the tail end of the express bus, so it DOES make all the stops - - except the last TEN stops. And Gertie gets off somewhere in the TEN. I sat down and awaited my fate: I'd be told the last stop is 8 shorter than where I wanna be, and I'd have to wait for a "non-accordion" regular bus to venture along the route and pick me up.
As predicted, the bus announced its last stop would be North Point and Van Ness. My brain grumbled, but something in my heart screamed "opportunity!"
I didn't understand my heart, but as a human, guess what I did? I followed the heart and not the head. So, instead of waiting for the short bus, or walking the short bus route until I could get on, I walked as close to San Francisco Bay as I could.
It was dark. It was sketchy. My head imagined a wild-eyed cracked up homeless guy jumping me from the dark bushes along the barely-there sidewalk next to one of the fastest streets in the City. My heart, on the other hand, told me to open all my senses. I took out my camera so I could take pictures of the place where I hear my most favorite sound: the clang of ropes and pulleys on the bare masts of sailboats. The Marina.
Things started to look brighter, not for lack of street lights. I was walking behind a big group by the Gaurdsmen Christmas Tree Lot at Ft. Mason. There were two young girls from the families hanging out together, and it reminded me of being 11 years old and fascinated with just about everything. It became apparant that the girls were in a drama class together, as they danced a little number together and sang "...because you're never fully dressed without a smile!" I can't for the life of me remember which musical that song is from, but I know that chorus like I know the red freckle between my left thumb and forefinger.
After the group was out of my path, I was able to focus my concentration and my lens on the sleeping boats under Alcatraz's watchful eye in the middle of the Bay. It was glorious. And then, after being completely refreshed from a long day, with the clang of aspiring masts waiting for their stoic call to duty: epiphany.
I haven't been fully dressed a lot of the time. I let the selfishness of urban life get in the way, and no matter how I doll myself up, if I'm not closing the door of my apartment with a friendly face, well, I'm just not fully dressed.
The funny part is, that evening not too long ago, where I encountered the most sporadic dance ensemble yet, was December 8th. Two little girls, 11 years old, with stork legs and skinny limbs all around changed my outlook. I can't get the chorus of that song out of my head. And when I'm grumpy and in a line somewhere, I sing it to myself. And then I relax.