I haven’t been getting out much.
But when I do get out, it’s always the same way: out my back door and through the maze of staircases that makes up my mini-neighborhood. It’s a small thing, but every time I step outside, I’m struck by how much this part of my world is so different from any place I’ve ever lived.
You can’t visit this place unless you live in one of the four or five buildings that form its borders, which makes it a bit like the back of a massive set piece. Everyone knows about San Francisco’s Victorian and Edwardian architecture. Everyone can call to mind bay windows, stained glass, hills…even some interior details like split baths or clawfoot tubs.
But here, in the city’s back porches, you’re completely at home (despite the urbanity), you’re completely alone (despite shared proximity) and you’re occupying a space that is completely unique to this city.
My city of staircases doesn’t appear on any postcard. It won’t be featured in a film set in San Francisco. People hanging off the sides of a cable car aren’t going to see it at all, much less take snapshots of it. And all of that is just fine with me, because I consider it mine, somehow. The part I keep.
And, today, it’s the part I share.