As I write this, I’m staying in San Francisco’s Sunset neighborhood. Every time I walk up and down the main drag here, I pass a cafe, and every time, it catches my eye. It’s an unassuming little place, next to a Russian market, with a simple, cheery sign out front that promises: Coffee! Sandwiches! Wi-Fi!
Finally (this is a couple of days ago) I decide to check it out. Inside, the place is well-appointed but unassuming —
Back when I lived in the Richmond, the neighborhood that mirrors the Sunset on the north side of Golden Gate Park —
So we catch up. I explain to Andy that the story I started in his cafe has turned into a novel, coming in October. Andy explains that he still runs the cafe in the Richmond; this is his second location, and he just opened it last week. I buy a coffee and a bagel (same coffee, same bagels) and I sit down to work and write.
Maybe you have to know Andy, or know the cafe, to appreciate the moment. (It’s Cafe La Flore, now on both sides of the park.) But I don’t think so —
Two not-quite-friends meet again after a gap of years. Neither of them is like, transformed. In fact, they’re both doing basically the same thing they were doing before. But neither is the same, either. Both have made progress, each in their own way —
I’m typing this, right now, in the new Cafe La Flore. It’s my third visit in as many days. My bag is tucked under the table; I’m on my way out of the Sunset now. But before I leave, I’m going to give Andy a galley, wish him the best in this new neighborhood, and promise to return.
May 2012, San Francisco
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