San Fran - Not My Usual

San Fran - Not My Usual

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We're always struck when traveling that the world simply vibrates with variety - easy to forget in our little corner of New England. While the class here in San Francisco is humming away inside a firehouse built in 1896, I take a fiver out on the city street as the trolleys roll by sparking the wires overhead. I watch the little neighborhood pretty constantly come and go, sometimes meeting the neighbors, even being checked by a guy named Chico to see if I am lurking with bad intent. It's more motion and more people of different colors than I see in York in a month - and the fact that an architect and his motor-cycling, chef-ing, graphic designer wife made their home in an old firehouse in this working class neighborhood impresses me more than just a little. "Out of the ordinary" seems to be normal here, and doing what moves you appears to be fully freed from the bounds of social expectations or trends or fads.
"Dolphin Club greets Grain Surfboards"
Dolphin Club: A little unusual.
Case in point is the Dolphin Club, where on this night, our host Jay took Allen and me... In a nearly labyrinthine, ancient, wood frame "club house" on a pier that looks past nearby Alcatraz to the Golden Gate, over a thousand members share a weird lust for swimming in the cold waters of the Bay, sometimes out to Alcatraz and back, logging hundreds of actual miles in nothing but a speedo and goosebumps. Tuesday is "Boat Night" which doesn't mean you meet for cocktails on a yacht; it means you show up in work clothes to sand varnish on one of their dozen or so brightly finished lapstrake rowing boats. Your labors earn you a seat at a long table set amongst the beautiful old wooden pulling boats which - thanks to Boat Night - are almost all in service constantly. One amazing home-cooked meal, a few glasses of wine, and a dozen eclectic conversations later, we ambled back along the dark waterfront, a 5'4 Waka under my arm. The mold-breakers at the Dolphin Club had alot of questions about it, and had seen it as sharing - with their boats - a kinship of quality; something with soul, something out of the ordinary.
Grain Surfboards at Dolphin Club
Almost dinner time.