It often occurs to me that I am a fool. It happened again yesterday morning. I was wading across a flooded intersection in San Francisco’s SoMa district. My umbrella was tattered, my luggage soaked through but floating nearby. If I can keep a grip on the bag, I thought, then at least I won’t drown.
The rain had beat at the windows all night. Inside my tenth-floor hotel room I heard a loud treble moaning begin about 11pm. A female guest in the grip of carnal enthusiasm, I thought. But just as I began to feel embarrassed for her, I realized it was the wind. In the morning the concierge asked if I wanted a cab. “Don’t be silly – just a little rain,” I said. A defiant whim: I would walk it, like Lear on the heath. Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks, and all that.
From Geary to King: thirty minutes on foot which I’d timed to perfectly coincide with the fiercest blast of the storm. I pass it over without further comment, the trauma still being fresh. I splashed into the office like a sea lion from the surf, out of breath, shedding rainwater in broad, cool puddles over polished wooden floors.
“You didn’t walk all the way from the hotel?” my boss asked, incredulous. “Was it not raining when you left?”
“No,” I said, “I was a fool from the start.”