by then i knew that everything good and bad left an emptiness when it stopped. but if it was bad, the emptiness filled up by itself. if it was good you could only fill it by finding something better.
earnest hemingway, a moveable feast
Josey Baker Bread: Get Baking – Make Awesome Bread – Share the Loaves; Written by Josey Baker with photography by Erin Kunkel (2014).
The Mill SF 736 Divisadero Street, San Francisco, CA 94117
I haunt coffeeshops. I sit for hours in those caffeine chairs are stare at the light moving on walls. I can write hundreds of words sitting in these public places. I can also read words by other writers, usually with my own notebook in hand for those moments when I can no longer constrain my thought to just my own head. I scribble, I sip, I chew on my eraser and look at the fashionable people in coffeeshops. It’s the white noise of people that excite me. I like the rustling of their movements, the steady rhythm of their cups hitting the table, and all of their tiny keyboards clicking and clacking. I can share a quiet hour with a stranger just by sitting at a table. I meditate like this. In public.
These days, I’m a growing a bit more brave when I do go hunting for coffee because I want to show you my corners of San Francisco. I prefer the ones with dim light and strong beans, but I also crave bright lights with delicate croissants I call coffee sponges. There are even donut shops with coffee and ice cream shops with frozen coffee. Of course I know there is a lot more of San Francsico to show outside of coffeeshops and food scenes, and I’ve often wanted to do the telling, but I couldn’t stand being leered at as tourist with a camera. On my first outing with my camera as companion, someone asked me where I was from. I was shocked. No one ever talks to me when I go to coffeeshops save a few encounters with a tourist seeking food recommendations and men seeking me. This time, at the Mill, I had a real conversation with two friendly folks from my own fine city. We talked for nearly an hour and I was surprised at my own ability to converse. I often to this alone but they were so good and so genuine at the art of conversation, it made me crave more of those things.
Last week I went to another coffeeshop. The baristas there found it odd that their regular San Francisco customer would take photos with a non-phone camera. I showed them my blog. It was a funny exchange. I think people always think something of my naming of PrincessTofu, and it’s never my thinking of my own naming. I snapped photos and got brave enough to ask random strangers if I can include them in my photos. It made my stomach churn with nervousness but they were obliging and grateful to be asked. I ask because I personally hate to be photographed. Then I snapped a few too many pictures and came home and immediately had to look at my photos on my giant screen. I opened my camera as Christmas presents – eager, way too eager.
That’s pretty much how I started sharing of bits of my short travels around town. I’m starting here, at The Mill, because it is the first location I visited. I’ve since wanted to revisit to snap a few more photos using wider lenses or sit at a different table and feel the light, but at a different angle. Then I thought I could do that later and just share it another day with another story. For now, this day, these photos are here and my visit to eat fancy toast with Alana of The Bojon Gourmet. If you haven’t heard of her, you’re missing out on some great recipes. Alana is a sweet soul and her’s is a stark contrast to mine – I’m politically loud, critically acerbic, too quick to be direct. Alana was one of the first food bloggers I ever met in real life and she easily convinced me that I should meet as many as possibly I can since they’re so nice, much nicer than I am, and they wouldn’t gawk at me when I take photos of my cup of latte. She’s not represented in these photos, but that’s just another error I’ll have to correct at a latter date.