I am in a small room, writing, and I have visitors. The woman I do volunteer work with at Reading Partners is there. She has the same first name that I do. She is smiling and interested in hearing about my book, but we are not alone. In the far corner of the room is a long table, the kind that you see in the conference rooms of corporate America. Seated at the table is an unknown cast of characters, but I know that the reason they are there is to judge my work.
I am commuting again, this time to downtown San Francisco. Compared to my days in New York, this is a short train ride. The train station here is small too, and unlike Penn Station, it is all above ground and outdoors; at street level on the corner of 4th and King.
There is a small, glass-enclosed lobby with side-by-side doors that open directly onto the train platforms. Simple wooden signs announce when the train on that track will depart. Even though I consider San Francisco a big city, the size of the train station here reminds me of the city’s true scale.
It is a short 10- or 15-minute walk to the building on Brannan Street where I am doing consulting work these days. Built in 1935, the remodeled office is housed in the old Gallo Salame building, a connection I was able to make because of the iconic factory artwork that remains on the side of the old brick building.
This SOMA neighborhood is mostly quiet in the morning and the street views of the buildings in this area belie the innovation that is taking place indoors. Business signs for the tech startups here are either small and discreet or nonexistent. It is not unusual to see the employees standing on the sidewalk, waiting for someone to open the doors in the morning, or chatting while sharing a cigarette on an impromptu break. They are mostly young, dressed in the hip San Francisco style that favors grungy jeans, the color black, and for footwear, boots, sneakers, or flip-flops.
But the streets are generally quiet in the hours before 10:00 a.m. It is not until lunchtime that things start to pick up around here. It is a short walk past Delancey Street to the Embarcadero and the new Brannan Street Wharf. In the afternoon, I spot commuters on bicycles, Vespas, and Razor scooters. I think the Vespas are cool—they remind me of Italy. I wish I had the nerve to ride one in the city.
Night and Day is an online journal that contrasts my dreams with my daytime activities. I refer to these posts as episodes because I only recall my dreams sporadically, and because they are at best loosely connected to my days.