san_francisco.jpgIf there’s one thing San Franciscans need to do every once in a while, that thing is “Get out of the city.” While San Franciscans may threaten to do this once every two minutes, they only actually go through with it about once every two months. By this time they are so tired of squinting into the dim light of antique bulbs and not being able to lie down on the sidewalk that they just need to get back to continental America where there are fluorescent lights, benches, and views of the city. Yes, if there’s one place San Franciscans like to go when they are away from the city it is a place where they can look at the city from kind of far away.

The best places to do this are the Marin Headlands, Sausalito, Tiburon, and Angel Island. These places are mostly fine in their own right – except for Angel Island, which was basically pushed up from the Bay with the sole purpose of providing a view of everything around it – but, their real draw for San Franciscans is that they offer relatively quaint or natural vantage points from which to spend some time staring at the place you were itching to get out of.

I’m not sure what the difference between Tiburon and Sausalito is except that one of them has Sam’s Cafe and the other doesn’t. Is there a place San Franciscans love more than Sam’s? That spot is like Infinite Jest in that people are required to love it even if they haven’t been there and don’t really know what it’s about.

You won’t ever hear people at Sam’s not saying things like, “What a great view!” or “A view, how great!” or simply “How great that view!” Of course after a while they will stop saying things like that and concentrate on their scallops, because no matter how nice a view is after about 15 seconds you have to look away, and when you do you’re gonna want to look at something edible.

Of course this is part of the reason people go places in the first place, to see new things up close and familiar things from far away. It’s certainly the reason for astronauts. Pictures of the moon are nice, but it’s the shots of Earth spinning against the darkness under translucent clouds* that reminds us that home is the problem and its own solution: the reason we left and the reason we have to come back.

*For a San Franciscan a picture of Earth from space is interchangeable with a picture of the San Francisco skyline from Sausalito.

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