It’s foggy in the west. Most of California is a dry dusty expanse with golden grass covering the summertime hillsides. At the tops of the sierras, a saw toothed range 100 miles inland, there is ice and snow, but the valleys that stretch out like a bright shadow are a place for cactus and lizard and thirst. Isn’t that the American conception of the wild west? Heat and high noon sun and a pistol shot that drops a man into the dust?
So what of San Francisco? The edge of the west here is a surprise. The dense fog rolls down the boulevards like floating rain, the air is simply wet without falling in drops.
It’s the heat of the entire west, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, a central furnace that expands out and hits the cold air coming down from the ice block of the northern pole, these two extremes collide and make fog.
The fog can hardly survive it’s trip across the city before the heat engulfs it. The western shore, therefore, can be a dark damp soup, while 7 miles in, at the edge of the bay, residents look out from their rooftops in the sun and see the misty fingers of the fog crawling towards them, vanishing at tapered ends somewhere near Divisadero street.
Its the orthodox Russians, the Jewish synagogue builders, the Irish workers and all stripes of Asian immigrants who make this shrouded end their home.
Sunny San Francisco is how the other half lives. City Hall, the Financial District, the old Gold Mining wealth avoid the gray “outside lands”.
Illegal cannabis production and unlicensed sex massage parlors hide behind stuccoed home fronts on residential blocks so tightly packed one can walk a block on rooftops.
Blame the fog. Streets are empty out here in “the avenues”. The wind is cold and mean as well.
The Hockey Haven is full of these bleak residents who drink quietly as the cars outside oxidize in the salty fog, parked parallel to the depression of this neighborhood we call The Richmond. Believe me when I say it. It’s foggy in the west.