Before moving to San Francisco, I was pretty much like every other east coaster who assumed that LA weather was representative of the entire state. As a seasoned SF resident, let me tell you, that couldn’t be further from the truth. I write this as rain is being pelted against my window pane. February has been one of the rainiest months I’ve ever experienced anywhere. And it’s not just raining- it’s pouring.
This weekend, after grabbing lunch with a friend, I googled ‘coffee shops near me.’ The first result was Jane, .1 miles away, which was ideal as I was trying to avoid the howling rain. In typical google maps fashion, I walked in the wrong direction before noticing that Jane was literally just across the street from me. In search of a dry escape, I ventured in. Jane was packed-overflowing with customers waiting in line for pastries, every table occupied, and everyone claiming territory near an outlet.
I walked all the way in an up the stairs with the hope that some abandoned table at the back would have my name on it. Or that maybe someone would be leaving just as a I made my way in. No such luck. Reluctant but intending to find another coffee shop, I turned around to leave. On my way out I spotted a familiar letter. A P. A girl posted up at a high table, grinding away on her laptop, was sporting a Penn cap.
Not only was she wearing a Penn cap. She was also black. [Now this is where I have to explain that San Francisco, in my experience, is...not diverse. I’ve found that I say this often and people disagree with me. So maybe having New York City as home just changes benchmarks?] Either way, finding another black girl, who also attended Penn, sitting in this cafe was like a gift from above. Serendipity.
So of course I, with no regard for social norms, tapped her and we began talking, amongst the crowds of people maneuvering around us. I learned that she actually graduated from Penn the year I got there, so we never actually shared a campus. But truthfully it seemed like we shared everything else- interests, career goals, sentiments about SF, sentiments about NYC, and of course, loads of mutual friends.
I eventually joined her at her high table where we both grinded together. It felt comfortable. It felt familiar. It felt like on that rainy afternoon, in Jane, in San Francisco, we carved out a safe [warm] space.