Wednesday, June 8, 2005

Epistemology

Typically we say there are three ways of knowing: rationality (e.g., if we go to San Francisco, and San Francisco is in California, then we (also) go to California when we go to San Francisco); empiricism (e.g., the shape of the city beneath the airplane matches the shape of San Francisco on a map); and faith (e.g., I had a ticket to San Francisco, and I boarded an airplane...).

I propose yet another way of knowing: sociologically. That is, only in San Francisco can two straight men shout on a crowded street to two homosexual men, “Would you like to try our nuts?” and do so without a hint of homophobia or insult. But then again, they were just selling roasted almonds. Nevertheless, I’m not sure two straight nut vendors could bring themselves to use such suggestive selling techniques in ambiguous contexts in Texas.

Which reminds me of a joke: How do you get a Republican onboard the stem-cell/cloning bandwagon? Tell him he’ll be able to genetically alter the sexuality of his subjects before they’re born! I know, I know—not that funny. The truth never is. [Whispered: And yet it remains a joke....]

But fuck the woefully wrong right for just a minute (no pun intended) while I revel in the glory of my post-San Franciscan vacation. It was pure bliss just to be in San Francisco—not merely running around the city taking in the sights (although I’m never sure if that should be sights (things to see) or sites (places))—I've done both on previous trips—which brings us to ontology, or modes of being.

To be (but not or not to be) in San Francisco means that I am spending time with one of my favorite people on this planet: Lady Chrzanka—(former) neighbor, colleague, travel companion, confidant, and inspiration. Always up for a conversation until 1:00 in the morning, whether it’s over a bottle of Belvedere (the Belweder—or at least the snow weasels frolicking atop the Belweder—once saved our lives, but that’s a story for another post) or good chamomile tea with lemon. Thanks to her and her fortuitous (yet propitious) location, a place that we spent a lot of time just being was the Red Door Café: good coffee, good French toast (or perhaps it’s called “liberty toast” here in Texas), good music, good art, good goodness. She also shared the mysteries of Green Apple Books as well as Baker Beach. New favorite places with old favorite friends.

Now the clock begins again but with a little less lurching and a lot less madness thanks to the sigh, the respite, the reprieve of being in and knowing of San Francisco. That, my friend, is philosophy.

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