It’s 11:30 p.m. You’re standing in front of your apartment building. You had been to a reading by Antero Alli, at Field’s metaphysical bookstore on Polk, of his new book, The Eight-Circuit Brain, featuring illustrations by your friend Beau. You never heard of the guy, but since Beau led you to him, you figure he’s got something to say you need to hear. Afterwards, a bunch of you go back to Beau’s house. You ask him to pull off your new boots, which are killing you. He thinks they’re cool. A mellow glass of Trader Joe’s red later, another friend driving back to her home in San Jose offers you a ride to your place. You gratefully accept.
Now you’re standing in front of your apartment building, and as her car retreats, you realize that your bag with your house keys, your wallet, and your cell phone is on its way to San Jose. So what are you going to do? You can’t call her, she has your phone and you don’t know her number anyway. No one’s lights are on to let you into the building. The fire escape is too high to jump onto and crawl through your open window, and the one thing you will not do is call your landlord with two kids at midnight and expect him to run to your rescue.
So what are your options? You could call the locksmith, whose number is posted on the door, but, actually, no, you can’t. No phone, no money. You could get some money from the ATM. No, you can’t. No ATM card. You could go back to Beau’s house, except no, you can’t, because no bus fare, and it’s too far to walk wearing your punishing new boots. Maybe the bus transfer the driver gave you earlier was an all-nighter. Doesn’t matter. It’s in the bag in the car on its way to San Jose.
It’s a mild enough night. You could spend it in Dolores Park. If anyone wanted to rob you, you have no money. If anyone wanted to accost you, hell hath no fury like you when your boundaries are crossed. But it’s early, too early. The long yawning night looms in front of you. You could go to a bar till 2:00. No, you can’t. No money. Safeway’s open all night, and they have free WI-FI. So what? Your laptop’s upstairs. You could read the two Alli books you acquired. No, your reading glasses are in the bag as well. You could help yourself to a paper bag, bum a pencil, write all night. But the Starbucks stand is closed. You certainly look sane and solvent, even hip, but if you can't buy anything, can you sit at a table till dawn without being moved along? How much of a threat can you pose? You are clean, coherent and color-coordinated.