Wednesday, March 9, 2005

The Big Shaft Experience

I was supposed to meet an artsy famale friend of mine in Big Shaft this afternoon. I duly arrived at our University rendezvous right on schedule at 3:45, after missing the exit on Foothill expressway and getting nearly lost on the Campus (you do have to have a PhD to get through that maze) I ordered an iced chai and proceeded to wait. And wait. And wait. In the meantime, I pulled out my sketchbooks and May Ave photo album (this friend had professed an interest in seeing the MA pix) and tried to get into the mood. The people were fun to watch, as well. Two women met who looked like Brazilian TV stars.. all in bronze eye shadow and 6 inch stilettoes. A homely man with an attractive young woman had an earnest discussion about something. Was she his daughter or lover? I couldn't tell. Around 4:30 I checked my voicemail and she had cancelled earlier that day. It had never occurred to me, since we had done all of our planning via e-mail to check the ol' v-mail. (Another point for the cell-phone lobby). I found myself stranded in Big Shaft at the absolute worst time for leaving. I wandered down the street and found a great gallery (the Bryant St Gallery) and I chatted to the proprietress. She was telling me that she left New York this morning and it was really cold there. (it was practically summer in BS) She had a cool bug-related collage in the window that reminded me of the H*ster. She also had a huge painting with earthy-toned vertical stripes that was called Dunes Beach. I grew up next to that particular beach, and I stared at it, trying to see the connection. It was so strange to be in Big Shaft, trying to recall up a beach that I hadn't visited in 12 years. The mottled taupes and beiges reminded me of the color of the sand, and the muddy greens reminded me of the bathrooms.

I called the Wobbly and fortunately, he was free for the evening. I met him on California St (the artsy, lowbrow end of BS-- with the funky street art and the dive bars). We conjured up the Happy Goat and did some perverse drawings. He treated me to a frittatta. We got hijacked by an elderly artist who feigned interest in my drawing so he could have an excuse to show us his sketchbook (a common artistic ploy). He had just gotten back from New York yesterday and his book was full of people. I had forgotten how relatively sparse the people are here. Even in the city.

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