January 13, 2014, Monday afternoon -- Reading F. Scott Fitzgerald, Dzogchen Ponlop, and St. Rajshekhar (spelling?)

Diana the Hunter overlooking the Pacific, where Geary begins (or ends?).
Urban hikes are one of my favorite things and I've always wanted to walk the length of Geary, which runs all the way from the cliffs overlooking the ocean to the heart of downtown where it dead ends just past Union Square. 

The first reader I spotted was at an Irish bakery near 20th Avenue.  She was working the cash register and looking at an electronic device in a way that suggested book, so I went into ask.  "Is that a book you're reading?"
She was reading Tender is the Night, by F. Scott Fitzgerald.  She's read all of Fitzgerald's other work.  Her favorite book of all time is Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Brontë, which she read in the 8th grade.  It was the first of the classics that made her realize there was more to reading than Harry Potter.  
At the Toyota Service Center at Arguello I spotted an elderly woman reading in the waiting room.  She declined to let me photograph her, but I was instantly cheered by looking through the windows at the pet store next door.  Did you know you can buy 49ers cheerleading uniforms for your dogs?
Geary led past carpet stores and furniture stores, the Institute on Aging, reached its highest point near the new Target store (gasp - what is San Francisco coming to), and then headed down into the Western Addition, where I admired a mosaic and happened upon a lovely couple enjoying the sunshine on a park bench.  
He was reading Rebel Buddha:  A Guide to a Revolution of Mind, by Dzogchen Ponlop and she was reading a Gujarati book about the teachings of Lord Mahavir, which comes from the tradition of Jainism.  His favorite books are anything by the British author, Jeffrey Archer.  When I asked him to mention one, he said Kane and Abel, which made me smile, not because I'm familiar with the book, but because suddenly there were three religions on the table:  his wife's Jain book, his Buddhist book, and now this book which surely had something to do with Christianity.  "This reminds me of Life of Pi!" I said, and described about how 16-year-old Pi practiced Hinduism, Islam, and Christianity and didn't see a conflict.  "Is this the same for you?" I boldly asked and he smiled and nodded.      
I wish I'd asked her what her favorite book was, but I got distracted.
In Japan Town I stopped myself from rapping on the glass of a parked car to talk to a mysterious looking man in dark glasses reading a book with Chinese print.  Near Van Ness Avenue, before heading into the Tenderloin, I jaywalked to talk to a woman who was also reading a book with Chinese print, but her bus came before I could finish my question. 

About 4 hours after I began at the cliffs above the Pacific, I finished my walk.  Interestingly, it was bookended by mythology.  The walk had begun with a sculpture of Diana the Hunter and finished near this statue of Winged Victory in Union Square, which is, on the top of a column, a woman holding a laurel wreath and Poseidon's trident, honoring a naval Admiral from the Spanish-American war. 
It was a lovely walk, but what made it nicer was finding readers...that, and the egg plant roll (stuffed with fresh tomatoes) at the Russian Gastronom at 22nd Avenue.


Joe Cottonwood said...

Lovely walk. Glad you're back in circulation. Congrats on the Masters.

Anonymous said...

That old couple is so great!