Adonis Diaries

Trip from Norman (Oklahoma) to San Francisco

Posted on: April 3, 2020

Trip from Norman (Oklahoma) to San Francisco

Note 1: re-edit of my story from my autobiography: “San Francisco: Soothing recollections, May 31, 2009”

Note 2: I opened a special category on my blog “Travel/Excursion” to collect all my trips stories.

The trip to San Francisco from Oklahoma on Greyhound bus to attend the Human Factors convention in 1991 lasted almost 3 days and I spent my money on junk food.

I borrowed the fare for that trip from a friend.

We crossed flat Kansas and had a break in Santa Fe that looked pretty much Spanish/Mexican feeling. We pushed forward to Flagstaff, a major change in scenery. I am under the impression that high in Flagstaff there was snow.

Other than that I don’t recall what I saw or observed on the route before I reached San Francisco.

This is a period I’m still not ready to face, much less to write about. But I finally came around to tell it when writing my autobiography (Of Not famous people).

Suffice to admit that I roomed with my adviser in the hotel and that he woke me up in the middle of the night to tell me that my snoring was loud.

After the convention was over, I was on the verge of joining the file of the homeless.

I stayed at the studio of a referral that I got in Norman for one night in Ashbury Heights. I had later many occasions to walk this famous street during the period when the hippies selected it as headquarter for their movement.

The next morning I was feeling sick because of too much nervous tension. I called my cousin Nassif in Vancouver and all that I got was a reprimand “Adonis, you are always in trouble”.

I called Ali who was working in Canada but he had no referrals in San Francisco to stay over. I used an old number of Ali’s in Houston and it seems that this number connect him everywhere he relocates.

I know that I slept one night at an Algerian student who was the manager of the restaurant “Marrakech” that served Moroccan dishes; it was one of the longest nights and the most nerve wracking wait for this Algerian student to show up and pick me up.

It was a cold night and I waited for over three hours sitting on my suitcase wondering if he is ever going to show up. I had nowhere to go and no money for any decent lodging facility.

The next day I slept at a hostel for foreign student visitors for two nights in Downtown San Francisco.

The Algerian student referred me to two Spanish students living in a foggy neighborhood; the fog enveloped this quarter 20 hours a day. I had shelter for a week at the foreign students from Spain and they were very nice.

I managed to be hired in a full-service retirement hotel, for room and board in exchange of 4 hours work a day.

The Spanish students could not believe that I landed a job that quickly. I accepted all the overtime I could get in all the departments, until I was offered the job of assistant to the manager three weeks later.

I was fooled by the offer of $1,200 a month which turned out to be less than $900 after all kinds of deductions, but I fulfilled my “word” to stay a whole year in that position.

My cousin Patrick visited me once when he was attending a conference in San Francisco for the anesthesiologists.

I enjoyed my stay in this lovely city of San Francisco and visited frequently all its parks and waterfronts and beaches, carrying a book with me.

I had also located a nearby covered swimming pool that I patronized three times a week.

I had the opportunity to tour the neighboring towns around San Francisco with co-workers and a French older woman called Michelle that I helped secure a part-time position at the Hotel.  The red headed Michelle carried all her belonging in the trunk of her small beat up car and she invited me on her many excursions out of town.

I saw many famous locations because I was responsible for arranging tours to the elder residents and I was to be part of the trip for supervision purposes.  The City offered a van with a driver and we toured San Francisco once a week and I took pictures and described the tour in the monthly promotional brochure along with the monthly events in the Hotel.

I was caring for elder persons, mostly ladies, but in my state of confusion for my future and frustration in not finding within my spirit of what I loved to do for a job didn’t leave much space in my soul for sincere compassion.

Practically, I cared better than most of the managerial staff because I was new to this environment of human spiritual misery and I was highly respected by the “clients”.

The retirees knew of my higher education but never asked me “why are you working in such an institution with your degree?”. Iit is as people in the US are accustomed to see all kinds of individuals working temporary jobs that turned out to be more permanent than proclaimed.

One elder man of over 80 of age, tall and of powerful constitution, committed suicide a week after his “incarceration” by falling in a stairwell from the eighth floor.  Many of the elder ladies whom I cared for passed away during my job, but the manager made it for no one of us to realize how the dead person was vacated. I was not shaken emotionally, or that what I thought at the time.

I think that I read most of the famous authors who lived in and around San Francisco. I had a Mexican girlfriend. (You may read my post in the addendum to my introspection “Chica Lupita”)

I have toured Marin County, the forest of the highest Red trees, ventured to Monterrey, Big Sur, Little Sur, Carmel, and all the environs.

There was old Jake who was a gambling addict; he used to receive invitations from the casinos for free rooms in Reno.  Jake persisted in his invitations and I joined him twice because he needed company or to fulfill a condition of bringing someone along.

I played little and ate a lot in Reno; food and drinks were cheap and in abundance, and enjoyed looking at pretty servers too.

We traveled on two occasions as a group in a van belonging to an employee and spent glorious days up north and tasted wine in wine counties and farmhouses.

I recall that I had an interview for a job in statistical analysis and had to board several ferries to reach destination; luckily, I didn’t get the job but it was a good exposure for various transport facilities. All in all, my stay in San Francisco was the loveliest and most enriching experience in the US.

I recall taking the BART train to Menlo Park, an hour trip. I was to meet my ex-girlfriend Rose and we walked for a couple of hours in Downtown Menlo Park. She rejoined her ex-husband on reason of her two kids growing up. Her daughter Shannon was about to join a university.

During my stay in San Francisco I took the bus Greyhound to Boulder because my adviser sent me a letter that he was to deliver part of my dissertation to the convention of Human Factors Society and I wanted to attend it.

You can follow that trip on a separate trip story to Boulder, Colorado in my sub-category “Travel/Excursion”

The return trip from Boulder felt even longer.

A week later I was to confront a discrimination case battle.

There was this girl who claimed that I harassed her sexually and the case was dropped after weeks of hassles; she had no one to testify on her behalf.  This “American” girl , of a wealthy family, was pissed off that I got the position of assistant to the manager.

I had no hints of the power struggle that went on before I arrived to this hotel.  I wanted to resign but the manager convinced me that when I finish the whole year then I would be eligible for unemployment benefits of around $450 a month.

I finished the year and started to look for a steady job commensurate to my education.

I thus patronized an office on Van Ness Road that was funded by the City and aided with unemployment cases, such as writing CVs and how to tailor make your resume, and checking on the latest openings for work.

In one of my articles titled “Are you searching for a job?” I wrote:

“I recall that in 1991 the US was in serious recession during the Bush Sr. Administration and jobs were frighteningly scarce.  I had graduated with a PhD degree in Industrial/Human Factors engineering and missed better periods for hiring academicians.

I was working as assistant to manager at a retirement community in Downtown San Francisco and visited an employment center on Van ness Road. It was a center meant to help you out re-write your CV for the nth time, anytime you wanted to apply for the scarce job announcements posted in the center.

People swarmed this center just to feel busy and serious about searching for a job but Not that hot for finding one.  I guess the center was one of the hundreds of facilities with the sole purpose to blaming the citizens for failure to doing their due diligence and compete, since no one is about to beg you to work for them.

If you failed to re-write your CV and spent more money on useless stamps per day, then you are not making good use of this “valuable” help facility, or receiving a monthly stipend for trying to find a job.

This was the period when ridiculous denials were the custom of the land.

For example, this custodian at NASA who claims that he is contributing to sending astronauts to the moon; or redefining their jobs as sanitation “engineering”.

I recall during my graduate study that I was forced to accept a job cleaning and vacuuming the main library while working on my dissertation. I fooled my spirit into believing that as long as I am doing my job perfectly and with excitement then I am learning the value of a job well done, sort as a training period for toughening my character.

A state of denial is Not a bad reaction; it is successive states of denials that can be deleterious to your development”.

I was very curious and enjoyed being among crowds; I attended the public events such as Shakespeare in the park, the free open concerts, joined the homosexual yearly celebrations for curiosity reason, and the Latinos Days of Independence.

Unfortunately, I was mugged on a wonderful evening, just 50 feet from my hotel and at 10 pm, and I was hospitalized.

I never believed that I might be a statistics of the frequent mugging events.

Nobody in the hotel heard anything or even noticed what happened when I returned from the hospital.

I refrained from going out for three weeks.

Walking in San Francisco, even during the day, was no pleasure anymore: there were too many beggars along the streets and they were Not a peaceful lot.

I was glad to move to Washington DC for a change, but no city compares to San Fran in variety, beauty, and recreational facilities.

I never walked as much as in my two years stay in San Fran.

This was a wonderful period when I devoured all kinds of books on a daily basis. I had the pleasure to be acquainted with most of the famous Bay Areas authors from Henry Miller, to John Steinbeck, to Jack London, and the Beatnik movement.

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adonis49

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