Uber Lucia

I walk down Polk Street, turn right on Pine and then left to meander further down Fillmore, pleased that I am navigating San Francisco without using my phone. Blisters are starting to form and I am deciding between my feet and my indigestion, walking feels good. And the indigestion was worth it. I shouldn’t eat rich food with dairy but…how could I resist brioche donuts at Reverb with my beloved epicureans, Rick and Sylvia? The donuts were about the size of my thumb with a smear of tangerine creme so haphazard, it looked like a mistake. But oh, that dollop was no error. It was a bit of heaven that left us all wanting more. Excellent, such restraint. if only I had the succinct power of performance equal to what was on that plate. It was a “private face” kind of mouthful.images

Yesterday, after shooting, JP and Cathy took me for a fabulous dinner at the iconic Tosca for my birthday. We talked about love. They found each other, how I found my Fellow. JP brought up a colleague, an actor who was convinced that Bard on the Beach did not hire him because he was a man of colour. I am telling you I burst out laughing when he said that because he is white. Then I realized he was dead serious. He had brown eyes, I’ll give him that, but the man is as Caucasian as the queen. At best he could pass for something as exotic as…I don’t know…a very tall Greek? But never a man of colour. Never. Despite this, he had the romantic idea that he was “other” and thought of visible minorities as his brother. I remember one visit he gave me a red string with a braided weed. Ah. It was sweetgrass that was given to him by a First Nations person. When I asked him why he was giving it to me and what sort of significance that had, he looked at me, astonished. I guess the significance was that he had it in the first place?

White people are the most ridiculous when we pretend we aren’t privileged. images-1

I Think of this as I pass clumps of young people out on the town, all in designer clothing, one woman in a dress that is “distressed” with holes along the hem on purpose. Probably cost her five hundred dollars. God. I have a pair of tights I could sell her. There’s a lot of “start ups” in San Francisco, a lot of money, a lot of young people who make a ton of cash sitting in front of their computers. You can tell. They’re all in their twenties, they’re extremely well dressed, they eat nothing but the best. The men have no muscle tone and the women are starting to get fat around the hips. I pass another clump of them: they are high. One woman is proclaiming from the depths of her soul that she LOVES Burmese cuisine. She is shouting it down Geary. I imagine what they’ll be like in ten years: disillusioned and diabetic.

That’s harsh. Why am I being harsh? Because I am forty six and have always fluttered barely above the poverty line? Is that it? Am I jealous?

I look down at my Fluevog shoes, at my fairly new iPhone, at my lips still red with Lise Watier. At the fact that I’m in San Francisco with a belly full of very fine food. This is nothing less than privilege. Frangione. I order my Uber.images-2

I think my phone has an error. Lucia is picking up Lucia. But sure enough, a car drives up, it’s a woman called Lu-see-ah – we both chuckle at the rarity. I find out she’s a long time San Franciscan, but born in Central America.

The Yolo I’m ride sharing with says in a very Valley accent, “Oh my gawd, I just LOVE Costa Rica! The beaches are AMAZING! I had SUCH a good time there! You’re SO lucky!” She goes on to talk about traveling for a while and added “We went to Nicaragua to build a well.” Then she culminates the conversation by asking if Lucia thinks her spray on tan looks too orange.

Lu-see-ah smirks in the mirror, says nothing. I peek at her on the sly: a large woman with a hard edge, young, with sharp long press-on nails. I say, “Do you have a safety plan, Lucia? A woman driving late at night, does it worry you?”

I have hit a nerve. She stiffens. She says, “I want to get pepper spray, you know, but I keep forgetting, I had a bad experience, a very bad experience, but other than that, it’s been fine.” I nod. I don’t tell her I know what that’s like. I don’t tell her she deserves to be safe.

I ride in silence for a while. I wonder where this Lucia is from in Central America. I am guessing she didn’t leave a land of clean shiny beaches and umbrella drinks. I wonder if she thinks I am like YOLO in the back seat. I wonder if I am – just a bit older with less of a clothing budget and no tan?

She drops me off, I say, “Please take care of yourself” she laughs with a bit of bravado, “Yeah, you too, Loo-chee-ah, nice name!”

And off she goes, into the night, escorting distressed drunk white girls home.images-3


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