I was 17 when I first came to San Francisco. My dad was going to a conference in Berkeley and I agreed to go, under the guise of "checking out UC Berkeley" even though I already had my heart set on Santa Cruz.
I'd do anything to get up to The Big City, and my dad loved to trap me in a car with him for 8 hours so we could have those "father-son bonding" kind of talks.
We took Highway 1 up most of the way. Dad and I in a dark blue BMW 320i (the car I still picture him in, even though he's driven a string of nondescript Hondas since). Just us and the slowly curving road.
I fell asleep immediately and slept soundly from Los Angeles to Los Gatos. I think my dad is still disappointed.
But we stopped in San Francisco on our way to Berkeley. Dad asked me where I wanted to go. Where do you think a high school kid would want to go?
And so we did. We found a parking meter and were getting out of the car when the spectre of drugs first raised its head.
My dad hadn't even shut his door and there was this guy in front of him.
"Hey, man. Wanna buy some pot?" said the guy.
"No," said my dad, shutting the door.
"How about some shrooms?"
I giggled. Dad glared at me.
Dad grabbed me and away we went into the bustle of Haight Street.