Our office is on the sixth floor of a fine crappy building that still remembers an era when it was not crappy. The front side, decorated with national flags, huddles between the newer, taller buildings like an old drunk on the subway who still thinks he's the snappiest fellow in the car and who, if given an opening, will tell you all about the time he got to hold Ginger Rogers's coat. Around the building's backside, all pretense of gentility collapses and it becomes clear that structural elements are hanging on by force of habit. This is the side where we have our window, but aside from the window itself (which has a note: "ACHTUNG - DO NOT OPEN") things are not so bad. We have a preposterous incarnadine carpet that gets a vacuuming fairly often, and nine or ten feet of air under the ceilings jigsawed out of the usual acoustic panels and fluorescent tubes, which we never turn on, since even on rainy days San Francisco sits in a weak glow like tarnished silver.
J. has made me bold, and now I take my bike on the train and ride from Fourth and King up to Market: two long blocks on Townsend, then a turn onto Second and a fairly intense (for me) ten minutes up and down a mild hill with traffic signals every hundred yards, no bike lane as such, and taxis and vans and motorcycles and the other bikes of other programmers all on their particular errands. Safer than it sounds, and exhilarating. I'm alert mornings and evenings both: this in contrast to those times in my life when I shambled between errands like one of Lovecraft's idiot sub-monsters. I get to the office full of oxygengreat God! The Krebs cycle whirring like a billion pinwheels!
I like the intermittent squalor of Market Street, and all the peculiar businesses it fosters. San Francisco as mythos is always looking fifty years backward. I know it's a symptom, but I love striking that slight sepia tint every time I go across the street for coffee. Our sixth-floor bathrooms are terrible; all the doors are frosted; our suitemate and business partner spends his day cursing in Russian at the speaker phone. Блять! I think of noir in its small aspects: shoes propped on a desk, the deprecated spelling 'marihuana' that shows up in Chandler.
"The Krebs cycle whirring like a billion pinwheels!" I just got a great big nerd happy out of that.