Saturday, August 08, 2009

Running Folsom

I've written about running in the Mission before. Now that I'm in Bernal Heights, my Mission run is almost always the same - up to 14th Street along Folsom and back (the last leg is up the hill home). It continues to have a lot of the same challenges - dodging cars, people, garbage, encampments, wandering dogs pulling away from their owners and turning their leash into a dangerous trip wire, etc.

The sidewalk is wider than many in the Mission and many in the city for that matter. It is lined with big, old trees on either side, providing shade and a bit of nature. Despite the trees, the sidewalk is kept up relatively well and there aren't a lot of roots buckling the concrete below. While it is mostly residential, there are also places of worship, the original Philz Coffee, schools, parks, a grocery store, a few taquerias, a laundrymat, and a few other commercial buildings.

Today the area around 22nd and Folsom was the highlight. On one side of the street as many as 50 young people - all people of color - having a good time and listening to hip hop. On the other, a handful of young white thrift-store grad-school drop outs listening to disco, or possibly French pop, on an old school radio.

It was a sunny, but hazy day, relatively warm in the Mission. Around 17th Street a big guy listening to a walkman (yes I think it was a walkman, maybe a portable CD player, but not an iPod) called me "Frank" or something along those lines while I ran in place waiting for the light to change. A young woman nearby thought he was talking to her and said, "excuse me." He repeated the incorrect male name and added, "don't want him to get heat stroke." I probably looked a bit dehydrated by then.

At 26th Street four teenage boys walked together as one told a story about getting out of some handcuffs and shooting a weapon into the air. The other boys were amused. I didn't get much more context than that. A dad and his son played soccer at the concrete park - or at least dad was trying to get the ball past his son the goalie. A woman and two young girls were sitting on a couch at the laundrymat laughing about something. New Order was blasting around 20th Street while a young woman took pictures of her friend on a motor scooter.

Good exercise.