Visit from Duncan


No sooner do I return from Minneapolis and points midwest than I am treated to a visit from one of my oldest friends and closest soulmates (i.e. we laugh at the same stupid stuff and fibish each other’s sarcastic and ironic sentences…). I’ve known Duncan since we were idealistic young radio gods at WUAG in Greensboro, and we presided as Program Director (Duncan) and Music Director (me) during what some people — especially us — refer to as the “golden age” of the station. Duncan and Jeff (who visited earlier this summer) are just about the only two friends with whom I’ve kept in touch in uninterrupted fashion since 1982.

An expiring frequent flier ticket at an opportune moment brought Duncan to Planet SOMA for the first time. I learned of this visit while checking e-mail in Minneapolis. It made for a good end to a haevy tourist season; seems all my long lost friends decided this was the time to visit the City.

Duncan arrived midday on Wednesday, just as I was in the midst of my “I’m back from my vacation and I’m now sick” moments, as well as my “I’m back from my vacation and I hate my job more than ever” moment. I fear this kept my energy level down and I hope that I still managed to be an effective civic booster. Unfortunately, my web energy level was down too, having just completed the Minneapolis pages. But here goes:

Some highlights:

  • We ate well, with excursions to Tad’s Steaks, Welcome Home, the Palace, the Tonga Room (with mutual pal Mark), Ma Ma Wa, and (of course) Jack in the Box.
  • A few romps through the Planet SOMA hotspots, including Hole in the Wall, My Place, Sissybar at the Powerhouse, Tops and Bottoms at the Stud, and a rare visit to the Castro by your host. Duncan’s comment about My Place: “there are lots of attractive unemployed men there in the afternoon”.
  • The “Full House” tour of postcard row (pictured below).
  • The obligatory visit to the Marin Headlands and views of the Golden Gate Bridge (also pictured below).
  • Duncan’s trip — with Dan — to places where they keep all the nature. I don’t know the way to these places.
  • The circular escalators at San Francisco Centre, a strange fight on Muni at Castro Street Station, the traffic system at KRON-TV, Brainwash, lotsa pinball, and the dang cable cars.
  • Maybe the best part: taking transit all the way to San Bruno in desperate need of a Sears, and running into my landlords as we pondered how to get back. We came back in the back of their truck, very cold and very illegal in California. Of course, my landlord is a cop, so he wasn’t tremendously worried about a ticket…

I’m not sure Duncan was completely infected with my love of the City, but I get the feeling he was pretty fond of it. The neighborhood bars seem to be in a major state of tediousness, which several friends have confirmed is not just my opinion. But I gotta say that Planet SOMA in its worst periods is better than most places at their best. I think it was a good trip; I enjoyed it at least, which is after all the most important part. It was good to see Duncan; I have this plan to expose all my best friends to San Francisco and then have them move here. It’ll save me a fortune on vacations.