Friday, February 17, 2012

The Street Where I Live and The President -- Day 41

Walk: R/T Trader Joe's with stop at JCC to teach and take yoga classes.
Distance: 2 Miles and yoga

Sometimes one of the greatest streets in San Francisco is my own. It is a flat one in this city known for hills that 'climb halfway to the stars' and lies on the way to the Presidio and at the base of some scenic houses owned by A-List types. Once I came out my front door and nearly ran into Will Smith. Turns out he was in a film that was being shot on my block. In the scene they were shooting, he was driving a car while talking to some other star whose name I forget - possibly Wesley Snipes. The car was on a trailer which they pulled the length of the block as they filmed. It was fun to stand in front of my building and watch --- for a while. The car whizzed by with Will talking animatedly to his passenger. Then it was pulled back to point A and came whizzing by again with animated Will. And again, and again. I finally left and don't know how many much longer they repeated and filmed the supposed action.

Gorbachev was more straight forward. His limo only drove by once in 1992 on its way to the Presidio for the formal establishment of his foundation. ( That huge red strawberry mark on his forehead was unmistakable, so it was a bit awesome to again walk out my front door and watch the black limo in front of me go by with Gorbachev in the back seat.

Al Gore came next on his way to a fund raiser just before the 'hanging chad' decision. And I almost forgot 1987 when Pope John Paul II was driven by my front door.

I like these neighborhood surprises. They are fun and quietly add one notch to the gun handle of living in San Francisco where stars in many professions live and visit and where the city is small and quaint enough that you encounter them in everyday activities.

Yesterday it was President Obama just outside my door and for the President it was back to waiting and waiting. I first noticed something seemed to be up around 4:15 when I walked to yoga and saw policemen, a police van and portable gates at the base of an empty Broderick Street.

Then a phalanx of 30-something year olds in black and white marched by. The guys were in black suits, Crisp White shirts, and the girls were in the female version of the same uniform. The wait staff for the fund raiser. They checked in one by one with the police sentries then marched up the hill. I missed the shot of all of them walking but caught a few later stragglers.

A few hours later, @ 6:30, I returned from yoga, and they were clearly still waiting on the President.

And waiting and waiting and waiting. Around 8:30 I heard a constant rumbling outside my window and looked down at the street. One by one I counted 22 motorcycle police so there must have been more before I came to the window. Then there was an almost eerie lack of cars on the street for many minutes. And then from the stillness, a single black limousine - quite majestic in its silent single car parade. Following it was another brief break from all traffic and, after that, a string of white vans (press?), fire and emergency vehicles and another procession of uniformed policemen on spotless motorcycles.

The President passes by.

As I said, there is something that always thrills about the arrival of large personages right into the heart of my small, San Francisco life.

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