I head out into a blustery wind; rain is forecast, but then rain has been forecast for months. It has come only sporadically, most of the storms turning away before they reach our thirsty shores.
Walking up the hill on Hyde I catch one side of an enigmatic phone conversation before the wiry young speaker literally bounces out of my view: "I want cheetahs, man I want cheetahs. I want one cheetah on each side of my sofa. Just the way I imagined it." His voice trails off, "I tell you man, cheetahs, I want cheetahs…"
A boldly blond elderly lady follows her cane down her crumbly steps, gingerly crosses a sharp slant then heads up the next set of steps. From her window she can see an open skylight in her neighbor's roof. Serious rain is forecast in the next hour, she explains. It is now starting to dribble. She's very worried and has brought a note with masking tape to leave on their front door if they are not home.
At the center intersection of the Vallejo steps, another guy atypically aged for young San Francisco is stripping the wrapping off of his motorbike.
"Going out in this weather?" I ask, as the wind howls uphill from both directions and clouds block the expansive views of Alcatraz, the Bay Bridge, and Nob Hill.
He looks around, nods, "I just need to get the battery charged."
"Supposed to be pouring by 4 o'clock. Don't stay out too long."
He looks startled, smiles, then cracks up. As I walk away I hear drops on the steps and his bike stuttering. It doesn't start. But the rain does, seriously. Fortunately I am approaching Stockton, the pea shoots I have come to buy, and the bus.
In Chinatown they also haven't heard that no one over 27 is allowed in the city. From infants to hundred-year-olds it's dueling umbrellas crowding the street as people rush around grabbing the best produce. I join the rush, nab my treasured greens and jump on the 30 Stockton to be deposited at my front door.