06/23/23 - posted by Tim Dineen
Nude swimming maybe 50 years ago - there were some secluded beaches when I was in The Philippines where one didn't have to worry about tan lines - but, today, my stream of consciousness is going upstream without an oar. I'd probably fall in the water and scare the fish. Poor Jo Anne would never be able to rescue me.

And, yes... thread drift. I was king of it back in the pre-www days of dial-up pay-by-the-minute AOL and Prodigy. (VIctor and I were actually introduced online pre-www!)

But I digress... Back in those days it was a cardinal sin to post off-topic and the power-mad board monitors loved chastising people, pulling posts, and "TOS-ing" people for their minor infractions. I came close to going to work for AOL as a board monitor circa 1992-3. After meeting a few of the MemReps, I decided it wasn't for me. I probably lost out on a small fortune in stock, but...

I digress, again... (see what I mean?!?)

San Francisco has always been a city reinventing itself - morphing and mutating like the Morlocks of HG Wells.

And like those Morlocks, sometimes we do things because that's the way they've been done for years - without realizing why it was done that way in the first place.

The city I grew up in was a city of neighborhoods. You didn't need to venture out too far, because everything you needed was - in your neighborhood. It was before big, national chains. Downtown was The White House - first Dept Store in San Francisco. City of Paris, I Magnin, Roos Brothers, The Emporium. Things were unique to their stores.

The restaurants were local The Garden Dinner House, The Riviera, Red Chimney, Zim's - Foster's Cafeterias, Clinton Cafeteria, Schroeder's, Tadich Grill, The Old Poodle Dog. Original Joe's. Local food. Distinctive.

And then one day, the local stores were bought by national chains and financed by hedge funds. The Emporium became Macy's which morphed into a part of a huge vertical shopping mall when the local stores were torn down.

Soon, it was Starbucks on every corner and the stores were the same across the country - selling the same things from sea to shining sea.

"New. Improved. Even More Effective."

And I guess it was, for a while. And then the corporate conglomerates wanted more profits without regard for the human cost.

North Beach morphed from International Settlement to Carol Doda. The Haight morphed from Hippies to Yuppies. The Western Addition didn't morph - it was intentionally destroyed. Market Street never really recovered from the years of building BART. (Those glorious theater marquees should have been replaced.) Downtown morphed from high-rises to skyscrapers continually doubling the amount of office space - luring people from older buildings to newer - without anyone to back-fill the newly vacant. Thank you, Planning Commission, for your foresight.

People yearn for "The Good Ol' Days." It's really easy to put on those rose-colored glasses and look back with blurred vision. But, they weren't always as good as we think we remember. There were bums and drunks, but they were confined to 3rd Street - without any sort of Social Services. We were warned not to take candy from strangers. We didn't understand the concept of white privilege, but our best friends across the street were Filipino - they weren't always treated the same way as the rest of us. And with six kids in the family, the folks often had trouble making that $200/mo mortgage on a fireman's salary. We got new clothes for beginning of school, Christmas, and Easter.

And things got better. I do think that - eventually - it always does. Bumps and roadblocks, steps forward and back - and forward, again. But things get better.

Obviously, pandemics come into play and there were some serious unforeseen rule-changes along the way, but it seems like the City that knows how, kinda forgot for a few minutes. I do think their memory is getting better, though.

As Carly Simon aptly stated - these are the good ol' days.

Who wants to go swimming?!?
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