On the road

There’s a long list of amazing writers that will testify otherwise, but personally booze and words don’t mix so well for me. As evidenced by the glasses of wine I’ve consumed tonight, and my subsequent lack of progress through the pages I need to proof before we sign off the magazine tomorrow. Not sure what started this train of thought, but I got to thinking about drinking and reading, which isn’t something that’s really done here (or perhaps anywhere for healthy people), but which I dabbled in while living in San Francisco.

How could I not?! I was living a stone’s throw away from the very streets the Beats haunted. What could be easier than a Saturday afternoon picking a title from City Lights (whose owner Lawrence Ferlinghetti first controversially published Alan Ginsberg’s Howl), then settling down at Vesuvio on Columbus and Jack Kerouac Alley, with a succession of $5 gin martinis?

There I devoured The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay (still one of my top five books of all time), and scrawled hilariously tortured travel journal entries. And on one memorable weekend, I got lost in a Steinbeck anthology right through happy hour and ended up befriending some locals for an endless night that spanned dinner in Little Italy, drinks in the Fishbowl, a hazy house party and late night streetcars home. Above all I recall that a couple of the party guests worked at the San Francisco zoo and were this close to taking us out there to chillax with the big cats…

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