I spent the summer of 2007 in San Francisco and although I saw plenty of fog, it didn’t rain a single time. A spring break trip a few months before was similarly dry, as was a family vacation a few years back. But this time, the morning after the night I drove into the city from a day along Highway 1, a slow, steady rain fell all day.
Rain here seems to take this form; downpours are rare. It’s only this soft series of raindrops that makes you not want to open your umbrella but leaves you wet enough to regret that decision.
It was my first time with this rain, and I was a little surprised by it. I wanted to wander and explore the city on foot but instead spent the afternoon at a coffee shop down the street from my old apartment near Haight and Fillmore. I used to love their almond croissants but the one I got was cold and when I asked the server if he could warm it slightly, it came out far too toasted, burnt to a crisp on too much of the outside. The cappuccino was also not as good as I’d remembered, and the only table available was in a shadowy corner.
Not long afterwards, I stood under an overhang waiting for the N-Judah streetcar to come by. A raggedy bearded old guy, all of his things on his back, smoked a cigarette in this dry corner. The train rumbled to a stop and I got on, overhearing a conversation about writing between two idealistic students who’d recently met at some seminar.
The throngs of people outside the Powell stop waiting for the cable car were about half as dense as usual and I walked up the street without quite as many people in the way. Union Square broke the spectacle of fancy hotels and unending shopping and colorful umbrellas made up for the gray skies.
My shoes were wet by now, my socks damp. I walked up the hill past the Sir Francis Drake Hotel, the Borders on the corner. A cable car clanged past me, some seats actually even open. I crossed Sutter, Bush and finally stepped into the dry lobby of the apartment I’d sublet for a couple of weeks.