Time Spent Outdoors

June 23, 2012

San Francisco feels like it has endless ways to spend time outside. We’ve explored a few.

Last week we went to the US Open at Olympic Golf Club–a friend of ours works for NBC Golf and so generously got us four-day passes to the tournament. I wan’t sure I was going to have a good time, that I was going to like it as much as I did. Mostly I think golf is soothing when it’s on television, but not something I would spend my day watching. When people talk about their games, I learned as a kid to ask for the best shot and worst shots of the day, since it seems most golfers can recount ever smack and putter of the ball, for all seventy or eighty or ninety strokes. Tromping through Olympic was a fun experience, with kind of a “we’re all in it together” vibe. Also, it was a fantastic way to spend a day outside in the sunshine (on the Thursday) and the fog (on the Sunday when we went back). When we arrived, the entrance was close to the hole where Woods, Michelson, and Watson were teeing off, and so after following them for a little bit with the hordes of other spectators, we camped out at the sixth tee for a while, checked out the rest of the course, and were excited that Tiger was doing well.

That’s another interesting phenomenon. Everyone wants Tiger to do well. Everyone wants to see him return to his former glory, myself included. I haven’t ever seen that kind of reaction to any other athlete in the same way (although maybe Bill Clinton experienced something similar?). All the fans routed for all of the golfers to do well, and consistently cheered when they hit a good shot and collectively gasped and groaned when it was in the rough or not in the hole.

When we went back on Sunday, Tiger was not doing well, yet the crowds still mostly followed him, hopeful. I can’t imagine what it felt like in his head, how much he wanted to shout, “Leave me alone! Why are you still watching? I’m not playing well anymore!” Tough break.

Yesterday, I went hiking with one of my closest friends. It was south of the city, just a few miles north of Half Moon Bay. I’m still delighted that I can live in a place where I can finish my coffee, standing on the edge of a cliff, overlooking the Pacific, watching surfers paddle out, go for a legit hike up a mountain, that at the top theoretically has views back to the Golden Gate Bridge (it was foggy), then come down, have lunch* and then get on with the rest of the day. And it’s real nature, not like the nature you get in New York in Harriman State Park, or Connecticut.

*A note on lunch: We went into Half Moon Bay and went to a deli that looked just like any corner deli anywhere. We ordered sandwiches and it turned out that the bread was homemade on site, as was the hummus, and the veggies were really fresh. It seems so indicative of my eating experience here so far. While we’ve been disappointed a few times by more upscale restaurants (they make me miss Frankies, and Northern Spy, and Little Owl, and Momofuku, and, and) the basic level foods–coffee, sandwiches, produce, (obviously) are so, so good.

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