I realize now that the three best things I’ve bought in recent memory are a PVR, an electric blanket, and a GPS.
The PVR means we can pause or rewind live TV shows, record shows at the click of a button, and in general do amazing things with the TV that only God or someone of that ilk, like Jean Beliveau, could have invented.
The electric blanket allows me to wrap myself in it and feel a glow all over when the Habs are playing. And having the PVR means I can rewind that beautiful blast from the point in seconds flat.
The GPS is a wondrous device, with a woman with a British accent telling me to go left and right and turn here and there, and allowing us to drive around San Francisco today for hours on end and not get lost once. I love this lady. If I was single I’d want her to bear my children.
San Francisco is a wondrous city with a throbbing heartbeat, a city where every district seems to own a distinct and colourful culture. Coming in from Redding, the GPS lady took us across the Bay Bridge, directly to the Haight-Ashbury district where I bought a second-hand vest at a vintage clothing store, and where we stopped outside the Dead House at 710 Ashbury St, the house where the Grateful Dead lived, loved, laughed and got loaded.
I wonder what it’s like for the people who live there now, with tourists taking pictures of their house on a regular basis.
On command, the GPS lady, who by now was named Kate after Kate Capshaw, directed us to North Beach and the City Lights bookstore, the area where Jack Kerouac and his beat buddies wrote and drank and smoked and argued.
There have been two writers in my life who have made huge impacts. Milt Dunnell of the Toronto Star and his original and unique style of sports writing, who showed me that one can be a little off-centre when writing about sports, that it’s not just stats and numbers that rule the sporting world; and Jack Kerouac.
I’ve said often that Kerouac changed my life when I read “On the Road”.
When I was young, hitchiking around the country with nothing in my pockets, I’d sometimes think of Kerouac and how he had done the same thing, and how he’d taken his experiences and written about them, and I related more than I’d realized then. He taught me with his writings that it’s okay to break journalistic rules, it’s fine to sometimes to scribble rambling sentences if the need is felt, and it’s definitely okay to have itchy feet and appreciate the open road and not always follow what society dictates.
Kerouac is known as the father of the hippie movement, a title he disliked, but I understand why he was given it. He was a cool, gifted man, before cool was cool, who died far too young. He and his buddies like Allen Ginsberg and Neal Cassidy listened to jazz, sat for marathon hours solving the world’s problems, and shunned society’s standard way of thinking. And as I said, they took to the road. He was a writer who influenced me greatly.
He and Milt Dunnell.
Luciena and I ended our day at Fisherman’s Wharf, listening to blues in an upstairs club, and as I write this, I say with bursting heart that San Francisco is a miraculous place.
Tomorrow (I think), the Hearst Castle and Santa Barbara. And naturally, any Habs stuff I can think of.