Summer in the City

Remember back in the 90’s when it was weird and alarming to take rides from strangers? Before Uber and Lift normalized this sort of thing. Keep that in mind as I share this short story with you.

I read somewhere that the Golden Gate Bridge attracts 10-15 million tourists a year!

San Francisco, California 1998-ish

A college friend of mine who is originally from Nebraska had a conference in San Francisco and looked me up in the late 90’s.

We met up at a now closed record store downtown. I previewed the new Sarah McLaughlin album at a listening station while waiting.

This song was arresting even through the headphones. It haunted me that whole day and beyond,

“I leave you with your misery
A friend who won’t betray
I pull you from your tower
I take away your pain…if you’d only let yourself believe.”

-Sarah McLaughlin


We had a great time touring the city on foot, catching up. We arrived at the Golden Gate Bridge in the late afternoon.

Natalie Merchant hair cut with the golden gate poking out of my head.

My buddy and I were approached by an overly friendly stranger shortly after taking this picture. I dodged his rapid fire questions but my friend answered in full detail. I had a bad feeling.

When the stranger laid out the obvious hustle,

“Hey, you’ve been on your feet all day, my car is nearby let me drive you back into town. I can show you where the locals hangout.”

I had to nearly shove my friend in the opposite direction as he was clearly taking the bait. I talked over him and lied saying we weren’t alone and we had a ride. “No thanks, creep,” said the little voice in my head. My friend was shocked. “Why did you turn a ride away? I’m freezing and tired.” I explained my suspicions and got an, “ok, paranoid” side ways glance. With a “well he seemed like a nice guy,” shrug.

I guess we’ll never know. Thankfully.


18 replies to “Summer in the City

    1. I’ve given it a lot of thought since then, obviously. Wondering if I did overreact. But given that most locals avoid loitering on the bridge it just doesn’t feel right. My gut still says it was the right call. Otherwise it was a beautiful day.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Mark! Going through old photos these days. Feels like time travel. Escape. In between the home school lessons, news bites, and checking in on work updates. Take good care!


Leave a note

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this:
close-alt close collapse comment ellipsis expand gallery heart lock menu next pinned previous reply search share star