All the People that Come and Go

It’s tourist season in SF. They’re especially thick downtown, hesitating at intersections to consult their SF street maps and guidebooks or stopping in the middle of the sidewalk to gape up at the Transamerica Pyramid.

On the rare mornings that I out of the house early enough to go to Blue Bottle before work, I see them wandering through the unusually quiet Ferry Building, waiting for the other shops to open and looking oddly well rested. (I have to assume its lunchtime where ever they’re from).

When I’m having what is for me a typical morning — dealing with inept commuters on BART, dreading going into work and cursing the inevitable long line at Blue Bottle — it helps to see people who aren’t just going through the motions of their usual daily routine. In the midst of my own regularly scheduled morning angst, it’s a good reminder that travelers don’t need to rush, they may not have anywhere in particular they need to be, and they may even be able to start their day without coffee.

Of course, it’s not easy to travel or to be without the things that you rely on in your day-to-day life (like, say, coffee), but I appreciate the reminder of what it feels like to be in a new place, to have a whole day to create on your own schedule, to be so far away from your home that not even the time makes sense.

And the tourists remind me I will be one of them soon enough. In a few weeks, Mr. WholeHog and I head back to Italy, back to the Cinque Terre again to eat anchovies and focaccia, to swim in the Mediterranean, and, most importantly, to attend a good friend’s wedding. And after the wedding, we’ll spend a week exploring more of Southern Italy and some of Sicily.

In my usual, obsessive pre-travel state, the SF tourists offer more than a reminder that my own vacation is near; they also offer a real world example of what makes good and bad traveling clothes. SF is a real test of one’s packing prowess: you have to be ready for both the 70 degree sunshine we had a week ago and for the foggy, windy maybe 62 degree days we have this week.

The tourists give me a sense of what blends in, or what stands out in a stylish way rather than an “I’M A NOT FROM HERE” way. In SF, nothing says non-native quicker than clothing that features the American flag, although the acid-washed, pink denim jacket and cropped pants ensemble I spotted today comes close.

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One Response to “All the People that Come and Go”

  1. Sarah Says:

    How sweet that you have such pleasant thoughts when looking at tourists. We had a surprisingly large invasion recently (three events going at once) and i just had to keep reminding myself, practically by chanting, “I’ve been one of them before. We’ve all been tourists…” Of course when you’re driving, inconveniences seem exaggerated.

    I’m so jealous / excited for your southern italy extravaganza. Take lots of pictures for me…

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