Friday, March 20, 2009

i left my taste in San Francisco


I know better than to get sucked into conversations like this. Two weeks from now, I will ask myself: Why did you post that photograph?


When I ask, here is the answer: The woman me do it.


It is a classic line. And it even has a kernel of truth in this instance. Well, a scintilla.


On Monday,
Babs posted on her blog: "Since some of my fellow bloggers have been changing their identity photo on their blogs, maybe I should do the same. I'm not sure why they have chosen photos in their teens."


Being one of those "fellow bloggers, I took umbrage, and pointed out that, unlike the blogger currently known as Felipe, my identity photograph pictures me in law school at the ripe age of thirty. Hardly a teenager.


To which, the ever-effervescent Babs, forgoing her southern ladyness, retorted: "Steve you look like you're about 18 in that photo - no way you were 30."


Dave Barry once said, referring to how women should interpret men's actions: "If something we said can be interpreted two ways, and one of the ways makes you sad or angry, we meant the other one." What is good for the gallina is good for the
gallo.


So, I will take Bab's critique as a compliment. But it is true. that was me at 30.


Closer to 18 is the picture above. But I was actually 23 there.


I remember the day well. I was stationed at Castle Air Force Base in the San Joaquin Valley. My friend, Craig, and his wife, Chris, were stationed at Hamilton Air Force Base in Sausalito. Craig and I had attended a training school with one another.


I drove over to their place on a Friday evening in my 1967 red Oldsmobile convertible. Top down. Ready to face the sophistication of the Golden Gate. On Saturday we drove into San Francisco and performed all the tourist tricks.


Craig took the photograph of Chris and me sitting in front of a book store. That is Chris looking as if she is the budding cover girl of Vogue. And, to her left, is me.


I want you to pause and think for a moment. The year is 1972. I am in San Francisco -- the fashion capital of the west coast. I am not certain why I thought dressing like an extra in The Godfather was going to be particularly trendy.


And it was Saturday. There I am in a coat (or a semblance of one) and tie. I will not even comment on the gloves.


But I come by it honestly. When my grandfather would weed or spade his vegetable garden, he would always wear a coat and a tie. And a fedora. I am not certain I ever saw him outside of his house without one of those three items of clothing.


So, Babs. That is as close as I can come to a picture of me at 18. At least, I am not wearing a fedora.

17 comments:

Felipe said...

Castle AFB! I was there too, but a decade earlier. The 456th Fighter-Intercepter Squadron, but it was deactivated in 1968 -- before your time, young fellow. And, of course, I was no (sniff) pinche officer.

Ah, those weekends in San Francisco, but I never dressed like Al Pacino.

You look like you´re 12. I can´t believe they put you in the cockpit of a F-111.

glorv1 said...

Well Steve, you didn't say whether it was Fall, Spring, Summer, or Winter. I suppose that could be the reason you were all decked out and with gloves to boot. Was it cold? hehehe. (you look great) Take care.

Steve said...

Felipe -- Now that I look at the photograph, it looks far more like a high school production of Guys and Dolls.

Gloria -- Yeah! I was quite the guy. If I remember corectly, it was the Spring. But warm enough to drive the full way with the top down in the evening.

Steve said...

I just recalled that you all have seen another picture of this same year of my life -- the dreaded Speedo picture. I will not include a link to it. I have already received enough email that could best be described as -- exotic.

And I lied (unintentionally) about my age. I was 24, not 23.

Felipe said...

Yes, let us leave the speedo in peace. Please.

Theresa in Mèrida said...

I was still being carded until I was well into my 30s so I understand looking young. My oldest daughter (who is 29)sometimes goes places with her brother who is 10 years younger, she is often asked if he is her boyfriend. Which she finds irritating on so many levels especially when they card her and not him.
regards,
Theresa

Steve said...

Theresa -- Aging is such an uneven process. The first time I took my mother to my church, several people asked if she was my wife. She thought it was hilarious.

Anonymous said...

Well, Steve, the only thing missing from that photo is the pocket
handkerchief, walking stick, and monocle.

Eight years before your arrival to the cold city on the hill, I was
there, attending the 1964 Republican National Convention. Goldwater was running, you will recall. You were 15 and probably working for his campaign in a paid position, dressed in a Princeton three-piece pen-striped suit. I on the other hand was simply dumped on Nob Hill, dressed in old white Converse low-cut sneakers, white jeans, and a blue workshirt, to function as a volunteer fetchit.

And herein is embodied, metaphorically, the great difference between the two worlds we inhabit. You see yourself as an exile from Edwardian England. I see myself as one of Wordsworth's proud rural peasants.

Do you ever ask yourself what is the nature of the force (mind?) that caused these two divergent worldviews to meet? And to meet at the time of their lives when they did? Had we met as contemporaries, we would
have scratched each other's eyes out, spending the rest of lives
stumbling through this world as blind men.

As it turned out, we met over lunch, and had a good laugh. There's a moral here, but I think it would ruin its force to try to explain it.

John

Steve said...

Folks, let me introduce you to my good friend John. I have mentioned him before. We often come at the world poles apart on politics and religion. But I enjoy every moment of our discussions.

His post made me think of my first motorcycle accident. I was on my way home from church -- wearing a three-piece suit. The only damage was to the license plate frame -- and the suit. I was 16. Suits and motorcycles are not a good mix.

cwilson said...

I had that white tie in 1973--it was in my graduation picture with an ill-fitting midnight blue dress shirt borrowed from my brother.

Steve said...

Well, there you go. Just another link in our lives. I will bet that your dress shirt did not have that interesting white thread around the collar.

Alan said...

Steve, please ask John to post his picture from high school and then from college. I predict a long haired tie dyed t-shirt with at least bellbottoms. I suspect Tulane helped change him into the repectable state manager he is today. By the way, I quickly recognized you at 24 but never in a million years at 30 and please, no speedo at 60 from Mexico!! Alan

Steve said...

Al -- The law school picture threw me at first. I forgot I had it. I was shooting pictures of classmates, and never considered someone may have taken a photograph of me. But there it is.

As for a Speedo at 60, let me paraphrase Ralph Nader that it would be "Unsafe at any Speedo." Mexican-American relations would be set back 200 years.

Babs said...

Steve, I'e taken a few minutes away from "The Man" to say - I LOVE the photo and your freshly scrubbed appearance. BUT the gloves are creepy. WHY did you have those on?
My comment previously WAS of course meant as a compliment.

Steve Cotton said...

Babs -- Anything you would say would only be the nice version. I suspect that any other thought would simply be stillborn. But it did give me a chance to use one of my favorite Dave Barry Quotes.

Cory said...

I just have to comment on this pic. Love the suit and tie ... the gloves, hmmm?

The fedora would be a nice addition to the ensemble.

Steve Cotton said...

Cory -- Proof positive that I am the grandson of your great grandfather.