Some blocks in West Portal are so solemnly tricked out and terraced so green that they achieve the impression of having been there forever, like Europe or the Federal Reserve. Then an avenue opens to the water and reminds you the whole thing is rooted in two feet of loam over the sands. Quiet and foggy, no shops open on Sunday, occasional car with its hunched, grayed driver coming to a careful halt at the stop signs. The offices are all advertising wills and trusts—sad corner of the city that made you rich, where you now wait to die.
Of course it doesn’t take long to walk up to the Sunset, which is more alive if cars are the measure of life. But here too, with the broad straight avenues, the theme-and-variations row houses and the sun a flickering light bulb in the moving fog, I always feel like I’m dreaming.