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tough guy poetry and manly stories of loneliness
all contents copyright Jon Rolston 2004, 2005, 2006

February 23, 2008

big and dumb and banging its head

This is the pacific ocean, all pissed off. I’m on a cliff eating at a little restaurant that pretends better than most to be stuck in time. The floor is fake brick Congoleum with squares of ’60’s hued green yellow and orange scattered in. Brown vinyl booth seats. Ten dollar ham and cheese and a blond waitress acting in a local theater production of Steel Magnolias. She’s talking to an older couple at the counter as she buses tables and takes orders. It’s a small place with windows on two walls that show Marin, the ruins of Sutro Bath and the open ocean with white caps out on the horizon. Sometimes you think your life is a mess and you come watch the ocean. It’s big and dumb and banging its head against rocks but you don’t have to.


  1. Unless of course you choose to be on that big dumb ride. She can get awfully pissed though. But it is funny how in pictures and even from land, and I have said this on many occasions, it doesn’t look that bad. How’s that hoof of yours?

    Comment by al — February 23, 2008 @ 6:24 pm

  2. i’m about to upload some great foot photos. i only had bad weather a few times when I was at sea and it was impressive – twisting a 300 foot long steel ship.

    Comment by Rolston — February 23, 2008 @ 7:01 pm

  3. That’s the Cliff House, important for two things:
    1) Where we are all going for Sunday Brunch when my book gets published! Champagne and omelettes and crepes! On me!
    2) A scene in Harold and Maude was filmed on that old foundation in that picture. It’s when Harold pretends to kill a war protester. Maude is carrying a sign and then falls into a hole in the ground. The display of insanity convinces the general not to take Harold into the Army. Remember?

    Comment by oggy — February 24, 2008 @ 12:10 am

  4. I can’t wait for it Oggy! but I was eating at Louis’. That’s the little diner two hundred feet up the hill. They sell beer and waffles, so we might be more at home there.

    Comment by Rolston — February 24, 2008 @ 12:11 pm

  5. isn’t that where the old time arcade used to be? That is now in the old post office?

    Comment by al — February 24, 2008 @ 1:21 pm

  6. Yes, the old hand operated mechanical arcade games. Where you put a nickel in a machine that spins a circular picture of a man chasing a woman on a bicycle. You watch through the lens and it looks like the picture is moving. It was where old sailors took their whores after going for a swim in the Victorian era swimming pool that used to be in that big foundation in the picture. The pool burned down or something around the time of the big quake. Imagine a giant enclosed swimming pool fifteen feet from the ocean! Whose bright idea was that?

    I will insist of the Cliff House Sunday Buffet. Even if it means getting kicked out for rude behavior. Shrimp cocktails and tender lamb carved by a real Mexican chef. Nothing better. Fruit salad. Croissants. Sausages and bacon. Real butter. String quartet or harp player. All you can eat. Best meal in S.F.
    Kerouac and Jack London might have settled for Louis’, but the Cliff House is my idea of an elegant meal.
    See you there.

    Comment by oggy — February 24, 2008 @ 4:43 pm

  7. i’m gonna drink your whole advance up muther…

    Comment by Rolston — February 24, 2008 @ 9:44 pm

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