SF Rendez-vous 1 - anglais

(Rendez-vous, de l'infra-ordinaire à l'extraordinaire, San Franciscan dreams)

San Francisco. 3:14 in the morning. I’m in a state of extreme restlessness. Completely jet-lagged. Impossible to find sleep. I open my inbox in the night. What? Unemployment refuses to look at my file??! I fall asleep painfully. 3: 57. Where are we again? Oh right. 802 Lombard Street, California. Lombard Street ! The most sinuous road in the planet!! Does that signify something? In my mind, there must be something not straight in my life. I fall asleep painfully. 4: 23. I am completely frozen, refrigerated. But why then did I flee France?! War? A betrayal? Lawsuits for Tax evasion? I’m in such a state of nerves that it’s impossible for me to remember my own life. I must have betrayed someone. Something. My party? Am I affiliated with a party? No memory of my political affiliation. Maybe I’d screwed up politically? Stolen money from the coffers? Did I betray my country? Wait are we still allies with the US? What year is it? Ah oui. There’s that thing with Obama and Syria. Something really not clear. Don’t we look clever now, in the eyes of the international community? Am I supposed to find secret information? Or am I here to defend French cultural exceptionalism? Looking at the way my jaw is cramping up, I must be fleeing something. Something disagreeable. Or, euh, maybe I took coke and I don’t even know it? 4:34. I wake up briskly. At my feet, an amorphous mass under a blanket. I have no memory of schlepping along my mutt. And anyways, I haven’t had a dog since childhood. Shit, what is this mutt?  I lift the blanket. It’s not a mutt at all. It’s Sylvine. My administrator. She’s sleeping on the ground so that I can relax. Sleep tranquilly. Be hyper serene so I can discover the underbelly of San Francisco. “What the hell are you doing there?” I say. “You can’t just sleep in the bed like everyone else?” Fuck. She’s pissing me off sleeping on the ground.

If you’re going to San Francisco.
You’re gonna meet some gentle people there.

Well ya. Evidently. We’re here for the project Rendez-Vous. Capucine and Marion are sleeping in the living room. Maybe I’ve already received an email from my commissionner? Yes! Two emails! That’s really l’Amérique! Let’s take a look!

Bienvenues!!!! We're so excited you're here! I hope the trip was ok and that you'll get some sleep. See you tomorrow or the next day! A bientot,

Bon. As far as le some sleep goes, it’s been a loss.

i am adding carey to this exchange, as she wanted to make sure you'd arrived safely (i see your arrival time has shifted by an hour or so.. annoying airlines--) You’re kidding! Five hours late, shit! and for you to connect with her during the next week.
we're excited to see you, and imagine you around the town.

and on that, here's the prompt for tomorrow, monday.
this is a little like an exploration, and maybe too prescriptive. the tone of the next one may be very different. enjoy.

(this is all near your apartment; do ask for directions to those you think are locals. study them while you listen.)
Go to the park across the street from Saint Peter and Paul Church. Choose a bench and just sit there until you think you should find a focaccia place near you. This place is at a corner of the square and a mother and a daughter run it. if it's closed, come back another day. if it's open, buy one piece of savory focaccia to share that night.

Walk along Columbus until you find city lights bookstore (again, ask the locals). Find a piece of poetry attached on a wall in there, search for it, choose it, write it down a few times.

this is not part of the prompt, but might be pleasant since you're in that part of town this first week>>> grant avenue is a lovely street in north beach. do go into cafe' trieste.


6 :45. I get up, again. “DefinitivelyI think. No longer going to bed ever again. Definitively finished with sleep. Euh, it’s true. This sleep thing is making me haggard. Didn’t I come to San Francisco to find some R&R? Some gentle people there? Then where is the blunt in my bed?

7:00. What neighborhood are we living in again? North Beach. I surf the internet:

North Beach is one of the most dangerous neighborhoods of the city, a hotbed of Californian prostitution.


North Beach attracted numerous Italian immigrants, and, after the Second World War, was a popular destination for intellectuals of the Beat Generation. Jack Kerouac lived in the neighborhood for a time and notably frequented the local shop City Light Booksellers & Publishers, an important center of progressive San Franciscan thought.

Ah! I feel better! Well of course! We are here in search of progressive though! Of movement! How did I not think of it sooner?! Europe is going bad. It’s the crisis. Never have the French been so pessimistic. Don’t I have an ugly mug this morning? Wrinkled? Man, I’m excited to go see a piece of poetry attached on a wall! Writing poems on walls. What a great idea! Would I dare, in the American night, write senseless verses on the walls? Oh! I already feel my beatnik allure coming on. Don’t I, too, have disheveled hair, thanks to my rotten night in the worst neighborhood of San Francisco? I’m dirty. Haven’t washed in almost forty-eight hours. Aren’t I a reincarnation of… quick…? Let’s see the definition:

Beatniks rejected the taboos of squares (rigid people that didn’t enjoy life, bourgeois). They rejected corrupt, organized society and traditional values. They wanted to live simply, fully. They revolted against materialism, hypocrisy, uniformity, superficiality. They wanted to create a society of simple sentiments, without prejudices.” Wikipedia.

Look, the sun is rising! 7:10 in the morning. I open the curtains. Oh! The city is so clear!