Archive for the ‘bike’ Tag

Big City Thinking 2013   Leave a comment

I was walking my dog, doing errands, minding my own business.

I dropped off a video for my friend at the Mission Library, on the corner of Bartlette and 24th Street. I noticed the construction going on in the immediate area.  I spent time really looking.  I noticed the purple building across the street being renovated, the  workmen on the 2nd floor noticed me.  I stayed a bit longer musing at the money being pumped into the area and then walked on. The area is becoming cleaner, more colorful, with newly painted buildings, new murals, gentrified by the corporation. A general feeling of wealth pervades. Long time businesses must be thrilled with the revitalization of their neighborhood and yet there is a look of poverty among many of the people.

I was thinking….. San Francisco is looking like a Real Big City and 24th and Mission is losing its look of a well used, accepting, even friendly, kind of homey, and homeless, chewing gum covered MUNI and 24th Street BART station Neighborhood. There are not the “usual characters”, some have died I realize, but the homeless that I knew, and that knew me, because I am also a character in this neighborhood are not there anymore.  The under served  are more and different people, and it feels like a less congruent neighborhood.

I have crossed the street and have passed Cafe La Boheme, a longtime business in the Mission District of San Francisco California. I am on the north side of the street, by the bench, on the curb, waiting for the light to change.

I am standing next to two Central American women, they are on my right and carry on a quiet conversation that I cannot hear. They are clearly not ‘with me’ and yet ‘we are together’ standing on the curb. I like this part of living in the City; together, yet not together. A black car with a blue and white flag hanging from its rearview mirror stops early, not passing through the yellow Mission Street light, waiting for us three and others I do not see. I acknowledge this gesture with a wave and we three women, step onto the road, from the curb, to cross with the light, legally.

Just as we step onto Mission Street an American po liceman, on a bike, in dark blue shorts, with very tanned legs, going east on 24th Street, turns left or north, onto Mission Street,  directly in front of us! He is unsafely close to us. He proceeds to ride his bike on the wrong side of the street, having barely missed us. I yell to him, “Hey! You almost hit us And you’re on the wrong side of the street!”  I say the And part as if it is underlined, in a tone that insinuates he does not know the bike rules and that I do.

I can see him out of the side of my eye, he is coming back for me.  I am scared. I say to the women, “I think he is coming for me” they agree that he is  “probably” coming for me. I edge closer to these women. They do not move away.  We keep walking. We are across the street.

I can feel and see his American po liceman anger as he reaches me on the sidewalk. I don’t see anyone but him now. I am facing north.  I am breathing fast. I don’t look away, avert my eyes. I do not remember seeing anything else going on around me. The American po liceman straddles his bike and begins to scream at me. He screams at me, in front of witnesses, he screams at me, that his excuse or reason  for breaking the rule of riding on the wrong side of the road is so that he can “sneak up on the bad guys”.  I swear he says “sneak up on the bad guys.” He screams at me to mind my own business! That he is doing his job! Though I initially stop walking, he does not impede my forward progress when I begin to walk on as he screams.

As I walk I tell him, ” I can still speak out. I hear my voice become quieter than I feel, is that because of my anger or my fear, I wonder? He must know I am afraid. I am ashamed, I think that I looked down, cowed by his rage.  I think, I don’t know. I think I have failed and averted my eyes. I am ashamed.  Does the The American po liceman ride off, because he realizes I am afraid? Does he ride into the cross walk and onto the wrong side of the road to show me he can?”

A 30 something African man tells me I did the correct thing, bolstering me. He reconnects me to the changing neighborhood and myself. I am still breathing fast. I speak with the man for a moment, encouraged by him. I appreciate his neighborliness. I walk to a cafe and tell my story to the young women working. They tell me they are not surprised by the American po licemans behavior and one of them wonders why it did not escalate.

I remind the young women that there were many witnesses and that I am perceived as a white woman, we acknowledge this truth. I wonder if  my ethnicity was more obvious or if I had been wearing a hoody if I would have been safe from serious retribution? I wonder if this American po licemans behavior is to teach the witnesses, as well as myself to not speak out, to not speak the truth?

Maps Only, SF 2012   2 comments

Tonight, at Mary Brown’s house we met to talk about her map.  We climbed the stairs to the roof and sat admiring the view of the City. What an amazing, 360′ view from her roof top! After today’s unusually hot, global warming day, the evening air was refreshing. She served lovely and tasty, Two Dog Farm, dry farmed, organic tomatoes and white wine in two sweet glasses painted with birds, gold along the lip, vintage. Her map she said,”will have a botanical element, will definitely hang on the wall and won’t be small.”

The conversation was random and focused, about maps, plants, bikes, food and their opposites.  I learned that paper maps are on there way out, like the car, a sad map fact. I am urged on by this sad fact, to work harder on my Ansel Adams Wilderness mosaic topographical map.

When she talked about her map it seemed to me textural, possibly of some local San Francisco spot.  I was excited as she talked about her ideas, random she said, though they did not seem random nor unconnected to me. Maybe it will be a take away piece of art, as she is not at all interested in the money aspect of art. She said the pirate map was a ‘genius idea’ and it is Oliver Lowe.  She’d love to be in discussion with the other artists over the web, be involved in the process.

The idea of not taking money for art is funny to me. One of the many reasons I curate art shows is to highlight the fact that artists must make money, or make a trade that in some, clear way, meets their particular needs. I encourage the guests to support the arts, to think of buying art as supporting an artist, a person.

We/they/me eat too and need greenbacks, pesos, to do so. Art is Fun, but it is our work.

smiling helps   Leave a comment

When your time is not your own smiling helps.
I have needed to be a little more flexible because, “my time is not my own”.  I walk when I must, not when I want, drive a car for its quickness, not take the bus or ride my bike and walk my dog when I can.

Though this is not my favorite way of being in the world, I have found that smiling helps. Just the lifting of the corners of your mouth and smiling, even if you are not feeling it, helps. I think the brain must be conditioned to feel a bit better when the face smiles.

Smile when you think of it, even if you are not feeling it. I hope you will feel you better; I do.

Posted September 6, 2011 by sarahdorrance in Thinking, Uncategorized

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John Avalos for Mayor   Leave a comment

It is the holiday weekend and I was to host a fund raiser for John Avalos for Mayor. Events beyond my control, changed my plans and I am now not hosting a neighborhood get together for John Avalos. Instead, my partner rode his bike today, along with many other SFBikeC members and John Avalos of San Francisco for Mayor through the hairball.

The hairball is what bike riders and probably car drivers also, call the area where people in cars, get on and off of the freeway at Cesar Chavez. It connects the Mission and Bayview-Hunters Point.  My partner was seriously injured on his bike 5 years ago in the hairball and there continue to be countless car and pedestrian accidents. When a serious accident occurs they send many public servants; firemen, paramedics and police. Later,  in the process a middling, uninterested, over worked?, detective comes out to interview the victim. The bike rider has few rights and unless someone other than the bike rider is injured, not much comes of the incident.

Still this is a huge expense for the City and could be less of an expense if the hairball was made friendly to bikes and peds, and to mention it yet again, it would connect our neighborhoods.