Ants and the City

by Map on February 14th, 2009

In San Francisco this winter was unusually cold. I was told by Them Who Came Long Before Me that they don’t remember a winter quite as cold. I tried to ignore this abnormality of nature for as long as I could, but finally had to succumb to ugly reality and to break my habit of wearing the same T-shirt all year long.

Local population of ants had to acknowledge reality too. My friend, a biologist, said that her apartment was invaded by a colony of these little hard-working insects, apparently in search of warmth and humanity. My friend is rather old, so I was concerned about her and asked if she has an anti-ant spray and whether I should get her one. With gentle smile she said, “I don’t want to drive them away,” and suddenly I felt like a genocide perpetrator who has, in an act of inexplicable kindness, been reasoned with. Every time I visit her, I shake my head in disbelief and make a mark in my imaginary notebook,  “Yup. She is still talking to me.” :-)

How to spot your compatriot in a crowd

by Map on August 19th, 2008

Not difficult if you happened to be a Russian. Yesterday I was waiting in line in a pharmacy, and there was a woman before me who walked carefully, leaning heavily on her walker. Something was strange in her posture, and then I figured what it was: she was wearing shoes with high heels. Even before she started to talk to her husband I knew: she was a Russian.

My life skills need upgrade

by Map on July 26th, 2008

Ulf blogged about Barack Obama’s visit to Berlin, and we have something going here, in San Francisco, too. I just learned that last Christmas a tiger escaped from SF Zoo and killed a visitor. Now, I live about ten blocks from the SF Zoo, and I can’t say that a thought of tigers roaming the neighborhood thrills me. San Francisco is located in an earthquake-ridden zone, and when I moved here I decided it would be a good idea to get some “Surviving SF” classes. I was taught how to assess whether a building is safe to enter a damaged building, or how to pull dead bodies from under debris. (The woman who taught “corpses excavation” course had an awesome sense of black humor. I still shudder when I remember her jokes.) Best of all, I was given a free helmet upon graduating, so I think I am pretty well prepared now. But tigers… I certainly need to learn some tiger fighting techniques and probably get some anti-tiger ammunition.

Marriage by the Bay

by Map on July 24th, 2008

San Francisco Chronicle announced that currently the majority of Californians oppose the proposition to forever define a “Californian marriage” as a holy or unholy union between a man and a woman. (Likely voters oppose marriage initiative) Is inevitable going to happen in our time? It came as a surprise to me, because up to now I thought that the majority considers it their moral duty to throw their unarmed bodies in front of marching progress — in hope to stumble it, I think.

The number is not-so-impressive-but-still-promising 51%, even though in the Bay Area the supporters of our rights to marry whomever we are damn pleased to marry outnumber defenders of a marriage as we know it by 3 to 1. We didn’t get that “Sodom by the Bay” title for nothing. ;)

Quote: «Fifty-one percent of likely voters in the state oppose Proposition 8 on the November ballot, a constitutional amendment that bans same-sex marriage by defining marriage as only between a man and woman, according to a Field Poll released today. The poll shows voters are divided by where they live, their age, gender and political party.»