It's hard for me to find any photographs from San Francisco. I lived there for four years. It's hard for me to find any photographs from the last ten years of my life. I used to take a lot of pictures back when it was an ordeal to take pictures and pagers were a thing. Snapshots, I used to take snapshots. Saying I took pictures or photographs makes it sound like I had a big camera with a long lens like Annie Leibovitz or Ansel Adams or Peter Parker, instead of the little plastic camera I had.
Snapshots: you would make everyone stand very very still and say some code word with eee to make them show their teeth and their eyes would glaze over and you would take two exposures, a real one and a backup, just in case, then have to take twenty-four or thirty-six of them, maybe goof off with the last one or two just to get the goddamned thing over with, and give the little metal nori roll of film to someone at the drug store who would hold it ransom for two weeks and twelve dollars. Then you'd get your pictures back and you'd know the Thrifty Drugs guys would have seen all of your debauchery. Sometimes your prints were doubles, and you'd get two copies of someone floundering around in brown darkness, two where the camera was on acid all trails, two with everyone perfect-smiles except for second-from the left guy whose name you don't remember with closed or red devil eyes. Two copies of visual jokes out of context, funny a month ago. Sometimes the whole roll was bad. I have three and a half little albums of pictures. I took a lot of pictures back then because I was happy.
Now it's really easy to take pictures. I don't really take them anymore. I get a strange anxiety when I raise a camera, will these people mind, but it's false. A little protection. I buy myself another camera. Tilt-shift lens, this will be fun. I take it with me. I keep it in my pocket. I walk quickly. I get my lotto ticket and I come back home and I think about the freedom all the money will give me. Maybe then I'd be happy again. Maybe then I'd be a version of myself that takes pictures. Maybe then.
This is a picture of the view from the kitchen (tilt-shift lens, this will be fun) in the old apartment. We lived across the street from the highway that ran along the beach. You can see the sand dunes, but you can't see the ocean. The tree that's coming in from the right would sometimes have a red tail hawk in it. It would often have people peeing under it. You can't see the highway from the picture. It looks like it's just sand over the hill. The view is a lie. You also can't smell the sand dunes in the picture. They smell like a dog toilet. Get a hepatitis shot if you want to surf there. Really, the water treatment plant (immediately downstream from the zoo) is at the south end of the beach.
The beach is officially called Ocean Beach. We called it Pinkeye Beach. We had a bad attitude. We are working on that in our new city. Promise.