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Friday Slide Show: Union Street Share This on LinkedIn   Share This on Google   Tweet This   Forward This

26 August 2016

San Francisco is, from the bay to the ocean, a study in contrasts. We've got landfill and we've got hills. We've got covered creeks and indoor fountains. we've got exotic automobiles and we've got cable cars. We've got Dogpatch and, well, we've got Union Street.

Speech Therapy. The jump start we needed.

Where Dogpatch was industrial and has become an enclave for creatives, Union St. has been tony and is still tony, if to a younger crowd. We hadn't been on Union St. for a while, so one blustery day we took the bus over and wandered up to Van Ness and back.

Boutiqueville. Nails. Waxing. Clothing. A few men's clothing stores, to be fair. Bars and restaurants, of course. A favorite imported crafts shop had disappeared, though. And no bookstore. Still the old hardware store, though.

We took inventory. You can't help it if you've lived here a while. Things change. And that's part of the fun.

But we didn't take any photos as we walked east toward Van Ness.

Hard to say why, frankly. Not much appealed to us about the salons and clothing boutiques. Or the mid-day breakfasts on display along the sidewalk. That would have been a bit intrusive, after all.

But as we turned around to come back on the southern side of the street, we looked north and saw a black awning with the name "tuLIPS," each letter painted colorfully on it. The "I" was dotted with a tulip.

If you look a minute, you start to see things.

We didn't think anything of it at first. Then we thought about it. Tu Lips. Your lips. It was a speech therapy clinic.

Absolutely brilliant, we thought. Tulips. Your lips. "Let yourself bloom," is their tag line. Indeed.

We did a blooming with the camera. Took it out of the bag, removed the lens cap and took a photo of the little building with the awnings so we'd remember it, if nothing else.

It is an interesting building. Count the windows. There's a single, a pair and a three-window bay window. The clinic entrance is where the garage door might have been with the main building entrance on the side where the alley door might have been.

If you look a minute, you start to see things.

And now that our eyes had been opened, we started to see things. Right above us the clouds were breaking up above a bushy tree. It was suddenly a shot we had to have, the fat glowing trunks stretching with delicate boughs toward the bit of blue in the sky.

We kept walking west passing a door that opened into an alley that had a canopy of small light bulbs. The address "1849" seemed to be the year it was built, too. We took a shot down the narrow space catching just a sliver of the modern world in a reflection on the left side.

A few more steps and we saw a young woman giving us the thumbs up from a display window. She couldn't have been more than six inches tall, though. She was a doob, a 3D scan of someone. You make an appointment, drop in for a session in the doob-licator and in a couple of weeks you get a 3D model of yourself.

This could be the end of selfies as we know them.

We caught a big cloud passing over the old Metro movie theater, which is now a fitness club. At least they kept the neon lights burning on the facade. For a second we had the same rush we had in high school seeing the lights blazing and knowing something was playing there (but what?). Nothing's playing there now, just working out.

Descend Salon was aptly named, so we took a photo of that, too. For some reason we thought to include the two doors above it. The trio made a statement. A statement with some humor in it.

A bloom of flowers on the street should have been our last image, echoing our first. But we couldn't help but admire the brickwork of a staircase and the long view up a back street to Telegraph Hill.

Once you start looking, you begin to see.

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