Rain. Grey. Technical Difficulties and Good Memories.

The rain, it is constant. So are the grey skies and the technical blips and beeps and blog outages. My tech support, aka my husband, has promised to rectify the recurring problems once and for all. Exciting stuff, but I have a feeling no one’s noticed? This blog is quite incognito after all.

This is my favorite photo, and I’ve had it for almost 15 years. When I lived in San Francisco, I went to a rather well-known little venue called Cafe Trieste daily. Purported to be the hangout of the likes of Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac back in the day, it was a place steeped in history and I imagine it looked exactly the same in the 50s as it did in the late 90s. There I became friendly with a lot of colorful characters, most of whom I never knew by name. We would greet each other with hearty ‘good morning’s, grab our coffees, have a quick chat and get on with our days. On weekends, a group gathered to perform live opera with an accordionist. I was such a regular customer and so predictable, the baristas would have my drink ready for me as soon as I stepped through the door (cafe au lait, extra hot, served in a slim curved glass).

The photograph was a gift. One morning out of the blue, one of the many older men who seemed to meld into the wooden, rickety chairs beckoned me over. He had a heavy Italian accent and the clearest blue eyes nestled in intricate wrinkles. “For you,” he said. A black and white image of a rainy day in San Francisco, printed on thick, beautiful cardstock. The quintessential cable car. The Victorian and Edwardian houses I loved so much. “1960s. I took photo,” he clarified, pointing to himself. He smiled and shooed me away.

I didn’t see him again and to this day, I don’t know his name. There was a signature scrawled in the corner, but it has faded over the years after so many moves. Whoever he was, and most certainly he was a talented photographer, he gave me not just a photo but a lovely reminder of the surreal years in the most breathtaking of cities where anything seemed possible. It was the kind of place where someone would make you smile with a simple and unexpected gift just because. All this rain, it’s making me contemplative.

Incidentally, Trieste is where M and I met. A story for another time. It’s a good one.

9 thoughts on “Rain. Grey. Technical Difficulties and Good Memories.

  1. Hi Sanae,
    Just to let you know I have noticed your tech. problem as I’ve been following your Blog regularly for a few months. I found we share many likes, dislikes and, who knows, if we lived closer we’d share some friends too. I am from Ljubljana (Slovenia, Europe). My town is close to Trieste, Italy, only one hour by car, and I go there quite often with my family to meet some friends, to shopping or just to drink a cup of coffee and to breath in some sea air.
    Wishing you all the good and keep going. I am sure your Blog is one among the few that stands out.

    1. Hi Dasha! How lucky for you to live so close to Trieste (though I should make it clearer that I actually met my husband at Cafe Trieste in San Francisco) – I do believe the original owners of the cafe were actually from beautiful Trieste, though!

  2. Love the picture and the story behind how it became yours. I’ve never been to this cafe, but if I ever find myself on that side of the city (which is never), I will certainly check it out!! Looking forward to hearing about how you and your husband met 🙂

    1. I wonder if Trieste’s changed? I used to work near the waterfront and would walk from Russian Hill through Telegraph Hill, China Town and North Beach. I loved that walk!

  3. The photographer was Geno Perni, I may have the name wiss spelled but I knew him in the early 70’s and visitd him a couple of times in his apartment studio at the corner of Union and (Ithink Polk).

  4. I know GImo Perini… He was a friend, a very well-known character in a NORTH BEACH and an excellent photographer… He passed away a few years ago…

    1. Thank you so much for the information! I still have the print displayed, right next to my painting area!

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