Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Twin Peaks, aka, The Glass Coffin

When I woke up this morning, I decided that my mission of the day was to seek out one of these amazing-looking taco stands here in San Fran and feast on much fresher Mexican food than I am used to getting on the East Coast for lunch. Seems like a silly "mission" perhaps, but when faced with a day of wandering the city alone, I like to give myself a little assignment to keep from napping on the couch all afternoon.

I chose a neighborhood and set off. I boarded the number 24 bus next to Jason's apartment (minor snafu - bus passes do not get scanned here like they do in NYC. My mistake caused mine to get eaten by the grumpy machine, and earned me a lecture from the bus driver.) and headed toward the Castro neighborhood. I spent the next two hours wandering into and out of little shops, snapping pictures, and scanning for Mexican joints.

Somewhere along the line, I spotted Twin Peaks, an old-school looking cocktail lounge situated at an intersection, and pretty crowded for a random Tuesday afternoon. I made the decision that after lunch, I would have to return.

I've always been fascinated with local watering holes, so later on I walked in and sidled up to the bar. The middle-aged, robust, friendly bartender poured me a glass of white wine and left me alone with my book, which was really a disguise for my eavesdropping.

The crowd was completely endearing. Mainly comprised of elderly gay gentlemen enjoying their afternoon bourbons and vodkas, some were alone, some were with partners, some were meeting other like-minded friends. Many had canes resting on the bar, and to me they represented a segment of the population that we rarely see The bartender knew them all, and everyone seemed comfortable. He chatted with one older gentleman about an ex who was in town and the impending meeting. He subtly congratulated a very old man on drinking more of the water that he always serves with the glass of white wine that is ordered. Every scene I witnessed was heartwarming.

"Oh, you were at the Glass Coffin!" Jason exclaimed when I told him about my little slice of life adventure. I supposed it is nicknamed that by the younger generation gay guys because of the abundance of windows and the typical clientele.

His snide remark made me bristle a little bit. I wanted to lecture him about the astute possibility that any of us could easily end up in this position later in life, and about instead of seeing it as something sad, seeing it as something hopeful. Hopeful because of the sense of community and belonging, at any age. To me it's nice to see that places like this exist, even in the middle of bustling cities with people of all types clamoring past the windows, looking in and seeing life happening before their very eyes.


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