Dangerous Compassions


Walking with Ming, early in the morning, I saw a postcard on the ground.  I was very excited.  We’d just passed by a guy sitting outside his apartment with a bong.

“Wake and bake,” I whispered to Ming.

It’s not every day I see someone outside with a bong.  I started thinking about people who smoke weed right away.  Kind of like being pre-annoyed–they are pre-medicating.  The day is already too much.

Well, he could be a nightworker.  It could have been his evening.


But I saw a postcard on the ground and rushed to pick it up.  It was exciting.  I noticed it was a San Francisco postcard.

“Blank!” I said to Ming.  “Yes!”

We continued walking down the street.  “I’ve never found a blank postcard before!  I thought it was going to say, ‘The weather is here–wish you were beautiful,’ or something.”

Ming didn’t like the joke–he thought it was insulting.  Yes, it’s insulting, but I think it’s funny.

I was about to say something about misogyny, when I saw another postcard on the ground.  San Francisco also.

“Oh my god!” I said.  “This is like my dream come true!  It’s better than money.  Wow!  Where’s the hundred dollar bills?”

“Seriously,” Ming said.  “Where’s the book of stamps?”

I laughed.  Then we started talking about San Francisco.


to me

“Lombard Street is just stupid,” I said.  “There’s nothing over there.  Oh, a steep, twisty street.  So what.  Oh, but maybe it’s by one of those things with a lot of stairs where you can get a view.”

“It’s not,” he said.

“Oh, ok,” I said.  “Are you sure?  You know where all those things are?”

“I’m curious how you perceive San Francisco,” he said.

“Ok,” I said.  “Honestly, what’s San Francisco to me?  All I like in San Francisco is the Indian food.  That one park where we went with our friends, by that ice cream shop, and that zine store.  What else is there?  I mean, there’s the Musee Mecanique.  Uh… there’s a close, dense feeling.  Who wants to be that densely together?  The BART–it’s too scary.  Like oh, we’re packed like sardines, but here the doors are opening, and people want in.  Oh no.  Or the doors closing on you.  It’s not worth it!”

I looked at Ming.  He could accept my complaining.  “You could sit at a cafe over by North Beach and pretend you’re swanky or something?  Well, there’s the Chinatown people doing qigong in the park, and cheap plastic souvenir crap.  The Japantown is nice.  But….”  I was thinking how our window got smashed last time we parked in Japantown.


“It’s too easy to do something wrong.  Like don’t sit there–don’t park there–I don’t know.  The cops will get you, or an aggressive homeless person yelling at you.  It feels like–ack.  I can’t do anything.  Everything I wanna do is wrong.  It feels too…rigid or something.”

Ming seemed curious about what I was saying and mildly agreeing.  We were home by then, and I was looking at our garden.

“There’s that military place.  That place is weird and kinda cool.  What’s that place called?  Oh, the Presidio.”  I looked at Ming again. I always say I don’t like history, but history is why I like the Presidio.

“Am I hurting your feelings?” I asked.

“No,” he said.

“It’s different for you.  It’s different since you worked there.”

“Yeah,” he said.

“It’s a real place, for you.” I said.

reverse pigeon

My functional medicine person told me I should try doing the reverse pigeon.  I remember doing the pigeon, long ago, and it was not good for my legs.  Ouch.  But reverse just means I’m doing it on my back in the air, rather than face down on a mat, putting all my body weight on those fragile joint parts.

A long time, I’ve been cautious about my knees.  My mom tore her ACL long ago, and it was the worst pain she ever felt.  She had to get a surgery.  It was such a pita.


Also, our closest park is that circle two blocks away, and it’s called Lubertha Miller Johnson park.  I read a lil about Lubertha this morning.  She was hella pretty.

back to postcards

Ming asked, “What are you going to do with those postcards?”

“Send them to people,” I said.  “Send one to C for sure.  Why, do you have other ideas?”

He suggested I send one to his younger kid, and tell him the story in tiny handwriting of how I feel about San Francisco.

“Yeah, I can make it all…back and forth like Lombard Street,” I said.  We were laughing.


I’m sorry I judged the neighbor by the postcards for needing weed right away.  Mornings can be brutal.  I know what anxiety is.  If I liked weed, I might do it too.

I am no better than him.  I’ll do better at compassion next time.  Love to the neighbors, the smokers, and everyone who buys postcards and doesn’t send them.

By Laura-Marie

Good at listening to the noise until it makes sense.

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