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such great heights

October 4, 2008

 

View of the Presidio from Laurel Heights

View of the Presidio from Laurel Heights

On Wednesday, I spent some time exploring Laurel Heights, which is easily my favorite heights in SF so far. The streets are wide and empty with lots of trees and hydrangeas falling over the stucco terraces.  Although the houses are large and beautiful they seem less hulking and sterilized than those in nearby Pacific Heights, at least until you get to the last street on the hill that overlooks the Presidio and the bay beyond.  These people seemed to know what they were doing when they built behind a park where their view will probably never be obstructed. 

            There is a shop on the corner of Spruce and Sacramento that sells nothing but ribbon: pink ribbon, grosgrain ribbon, wide ribbon, shiny ribbon, ribbons of hand-stitched flowers in long delicate chains.  Could there be anything better, I wonder. 

            Leaving Le Ribbonerie I consider that there must be some sort of psychological deficit in a person who is drawn most strongly to a place where they could never afford to be anything but a spectator on the lives of others. 

            But I haven’t yet found the Heights for people like me: unemployed ex-patriots of the small town life with dwindling funds and designer sunglasses and too much knowledge of the mechanics of neurotransmitters and too little on the experience of life.  I’m trying to imagine what this Heights would look like, short on homes and long on libraries and American Apparel stores?  What about a Chloe Heights?  Small houses immaculately turned out, no construction in sight, lots of wine bars, and all front doors left open for visitors.  

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Kent McMIllan permalink
    October 5, 2008 3:43 am

    Leaving Le Ribbonerie I consider that there must be some sort of psychological deficit in a person who is drawn most strongly to a place where they could never afford to be anything but a spectator on the lives of others.

    Oh, let’s not pathologize aesthetics. I mean, isn’t a similar question whether one ought to sample great wine that costs so much that it might only be prudent to buy it for special occasions?

    It’s true that the excellent does tend to make the ordinary seem smaller and duller, but wouldn’t it be worse to know only the dull and small?

    The interesting general question to me is what qualities make a place special, both in physical and social characteristics. The list of physical qualities of remarkable places seems almost as old as the species. They would have as likely drawn inhabitants 4,000 years ago as today. The list of interesting social characteristics is likely more distinctly modern.

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