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Drinks, Dreams, and Revisiting China Basin

By       Message Bob Patterson       (Page 1 of 3 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   No comments

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In 1969, a friend convinced this writer to put aside dreams of aspiring to be the new/next Herb Caen and, instead, go to work at a large company of the public utilities type, and concentrate on earning big bucks which could be used to live out the "on the road" fantasies at vacation time. The evasive maneuver was known, at the time, as "selling out to the establishment." On the lunch hour break, while undergoing training to become ad salesmen, we would walk on the nearby drawbridge and talk with our classmates about our hopes and aspirations. Little did we realize that 41 years later we'd still be on that very same bridge and that the boats coming and going would be populated by folks living out their dream of experiencing a World Series game in McCovey Cove.

Have things changed since then? Somewhere nearby there used to be a world class dive bar built cantilever style out over the bay and on their jukebox there was a copy of Dooley Wilson's "As Time Goes By." Well, time has gone by and that bar is gone and ATTPark is the repository for a goodly number of hopes and aspirations for the folks living in that neighborhood. The name of the war has changed. We finally got out of Vietnam and into Afghanistan. I learned, in the interim, that a fellow who was on the staff of our college newspaper and yearbook back in the day, was in San Francisco, at that very same time, working as the ME (managing editor) of a rock'n'roll fanzine called "The Rolling Stone" (the writer O. Henry had published a magazine with the same name). Woulda/coulda/shoulda. We never did bump into him at that time. Pity.

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Hunter S. Thompson was a founding father of the Gonzo branch of journalism and he was the type of guy who would fly to Africa to cover a fight and then not go to the event to get his story, so we figured that going to McCovey Cove and getting the details about what goes on in China Basin (aka McCovey Cove) while the clock does the countdown to the start of Game One in the 2010 World Series was a good idea which would win Thompson's seal of approval.

Folks were holding up signs indicating that they still had not purchased tickets for the game. Didn't they realize that tickets to the event were a valuable commodity and that it would take a large fistful of dollars to buy such a sought after item?

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Hope springs eternal. Just in case, we scribbled out the words "NeedSpareMediaPass," which caused a mirthful reaction but was a futile existentialist's errand.

We had a diet cola drink at nearby Jelly's bar, but it just wasn't the same as slugging down a beer while listening to something from the Casablanca soundtrack album. BTW, Casablanca was (when I was there in 1965) not as exotic and alluring as Americans were led to believe. It was rather intimidating to be a tourist there and have the locals start up a conversation by asking: "Hey, American, how much money you got?" Casablanca was, in fact, one of only two places in the world where I've been asked for a tip. We went into a bar in Casablanca and, after ordering a beer (which we drank straight from the bottle rather than use the glass provided), was told by the bartender who put an empty plate down in front of us: "That is where you put de tip!" I had let the guy take the money for the brew from a collection of coins in my hand and so I selected one or two of the biggest and put them on the plate. The other place where I have been asked for a tip was a restaurant in Oklahoma. After serving my meal the waitress asked if I was going to leave a tip. (Times were difficult in the Sixties.)

While we wandered toward Jelly's bar, we noticed a fellow who seemed to be preparing for a day at the beach and we queried him about his attire and he informed us that he and his three lady companions were going to don wetsuits and take to their surfboards and one inflatable kayak and experience McCovey Cove in McCovey Cove. He had, we were informed, experienced one of the playoff games in the baseball stadium and he had (in the past) done the surfing McCovey Cove thing and the latter was more enjoyable, so he and his companions were going to experience the first game "in the drink" (as it were) rather than with drinks.

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One fellow, who seemed to be a reporter in a kayak, was seen interviewing these folks. Why didn't we think of that?

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BP graduated from college in the mid sixties (at the bottom of the class?) He told his draft board that Vietnam could be won without his participation. He is still appologizing for that mistake. He received his fist photo lesson from a future (more...)

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