An Ode to Serendipity (or, Stand Back, People!)

Title: Shelter in the Greatest Place overlaid a photo looking up an empty street in the Sunset at dusk. A lone Jeep. is silhouetted against the dusky clouds.

This letter to San Franciscans was written by Michael "those aren’t grumpy pants, they’re bike shorts" Tanner, longtime resident of the City by the Bay and Old School Hipster(tm). He's also a senior mechanic at our Presidio store, and an all-around nice guy.


Look, I’ve got one of the smallest, crampedest apartments in a land of small, cramped apartments. Granted, my casual approach to housekeeping lets a bit of nature in here and there, but I’m chomping at the bit to get some air as much as the next guy (which is my neighbor, whom I can hear through the wall, pacing his way through these challenging times). And, yes, a little non-auditory company would be nice. But not like this!

Really, though, if you feel like we all need a change of scenery even more than usual, let’s actually change it. I mean, we’re being forced to interrupt our comfortable routines, but we're also being given an opportunity to break out of those same comfortable routines. 

The social distance between two points is seldom a straight line

The social distance between two points is seldom a straight line.

So when you do go out for your sanity-saver, mix it up. Don’t go to the obvious places to rub elbows with the oblivious masses. Take the side streets. Ignore your inner Waze and meander the long route; you’ve got time. Going west? Don’t use the Panhandle. You’ve done that, and way too many people are doing that. 

Maybe you’ll stumble across a new cafe (for later when coffee with friends is a go), or discover a hidden stairway, or catch a novel view of the SalesForce Tower. Try a different time of day. Me, for instance, I’m not a congenital early riser: back when we did now-exotic things like show up at the office, I constantly mystified my coworkers by saying good morning when reporting in for my 1pm shift. But I’ve seen the sunrise twice this week! (Pro tip: it comes up in the east; look behind you.) And you know what I didn’t see? A bazillion people trying to use the same trail as me. 

The sunrise (pro tip: it's in the east).

Remember, Golden Gate Park is not the only open space in town. But there’s no need to drive up and down the coast (don’t drive up and down the coast!); it’s all right here. Beach to mountain, open meadow to skyscraper urbanity. Tastes of Italy, China, Russia, even something that still feels like San Francisco if you look hard. 

So, yeah. Get out, but do it with some forethought. We’re not on vacation; we shouldn’t spend our days lazing with the gang on Hippy Hill; we need to #stayhome as much as we can. We need to keep our distance—before the curfew police have to step in to keep it for us. But you can also call this keeping it weird. Now excuse me; I’m going to go take a ride through the Financial District.


  • Marion from East Bay says...

    And me I love the SF street picture . Miss SF from’ East Bay

    On March 25, 2020
  • robert b balas says...

    good one boy. you still got them writing chops even after all these years of disuse. im sticking to my ocd hawk hill time trial cuz im old and stuff but if you want to show me wtf u r talking about, ready to ride any old time: i promise to stay 6 ft away at all times

    On March 23, 2020
  • Chris says...

    YES!!! TANNER!!! Love this and your view on the freedom that is taken for granted everyday! Get out and ride that bike(No drafting) !!

    On March 23, 2020
  • Maureen says...

    This was balm for the soul. I love Michael’s perspective and humor! Thank you.

    On March 23, 2020

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