It was 1997, and I was driving around the streets of San Francisco in a beat up, hand-me-down geo prism that barely made the trip from San Diego. I was new in town, and I felt like a fraud, so I would pick out a neighborhood and just start driving, smoking cigarette after cigarette and stopping for a drink as necessary. It was phenomenal to be young and in San Francisco, and the night was like one long, wet kiss. I had music, I had good books, there was weed everywhere, and it was all mine.
And then I almost got arrested. It happened like this.
I was on one of my drives through the nighttime, and I was in North Beach, home of beatnik writers and drunken deviants. I drove for a while, and then I got out to walk around. And I was no longer in North Beach. This was a recurring problem. I have zero sense of direction, and it is never wise for stoned dudes with no sense of direction to aimlessly cruise complicated city thoroughfares.
So, it was late. Probably close to midnight, and there were some hookers on the block and some crackheads on the corner. It was real fucking authentic, so I decided to take a stroll.
Lose the car and slide out onto the sidewalk, cigarette up, and I’m walking. Head down. Collar up. I walked fast in those days, but suddenly there was a woman damn near jogging beside me, and she was wearing a mini-dress and big, gold hoops.
“You looking for some company?”
“Hey man. Can you do me a favor. Dude has been following me, and it’s freaking me out. Walk with me?”
So, I look back and there is a no-shit creepy fucking dude about half a block back looking at this woman like she’s a pork chop, and I’m the mongrel dog that stole it from him. Of course, seeing how I was raised on southern chivalry, I asked her to marry me and we moved to the country. Or I offered to walk with her. Who knows. We didn’t get fifty feet before the whole goddamn world turned red and blue. Fuck. Then there’s a fat, sweaty cop right out 1970s casting in my face telling me I’m going to jail. The chick is yelling at him that I was being a gentleman. I’m imagining calling my Mom. Hey, Mom. So, I’m in jail. Well, soliciting prostitution, but here’s the thing…
Eventually, the cop relents after we both explain to him repeatedly that he is beating up the wrong tree, almost literally (cops like to get handy with hookers and nineteen-year-old punks). I don’t even have any money. I’m afraid to fuck girls that don’t fuck for money, let alone those who do…
I don’t even know how I got home that night, riding a wave of adrenaline, no doubt, and I didn’t learn a goddamn thing from the experience. But I didn’t go to jail. I went home to the Mission, got drunk with my roommates and ate tacos. A success story.