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Sunday, October 01, 2006

Silver Crest Donut Shop

The crazy people in this city are getting on my last fucking nerve.

In the last week, I haven't been able to walk or ride the bus anywhere without some screaming lunatic barraging me with his or her psycho-babble. And I know I'm not the only one who's noticed it.

For some reason or other - maybe a passing comet? – the insane in San Francisco are out in full force and it's an everyday thing now.

I'm use to crazy people, trust me. I know all of the crazies in my neighborhood very well, and I've even come to depend on their outbursts as a sign that things are well and normal in the city of Saint Francis.

But there are times, like yesterday – and the day before, and the day before that- when someone is just screaming the most vile sort of things you wish you hadn't heard; things about raping and killing and racist, evil shit. This kind of stuff is becoming all too common in this city and, frankly, I'm about to snap myself.

There are times when I feel myself becoming more and more inclined to act out violently against these people, because as I've said, I'm accosted with it every single day now - by totally different crazies, and at random places and times.

Right when I know I'm going to just wail on some nut, a tiny piece of calm and reason comes from deep inside me and I eventually remind myself that these people are sick beyond any choice of their own. I'm reminded that it wouldn't be right to beat the living shit out of someone who's sick. It wouldn't even feel good afterwards.

In fact, I'd feel really horrible, with good reason.

Still, something is going on, and I just hope it passes quickly. Being an election season, I'm not holding my breath - since there's going to be a lot of jive-talkin' from every single candidate, even the ones I like.

The crazy lady on the bus yesterday was switched on #7 on the crazy nob and luckily I didn't have to sit by her. Still, everyone on the bus, myself included, were treated to the pleasant sounds of "that's my goddamn box, not yours. If I want to call Mississippi, I will goddamn it and you can't stop me, motherfucker. Who said that? Well, tell that bitch to stay away from me. I eat apple pie for motherfucking lunch and dinner, you son of a bitch."

It wouldn't be long until I reached my destination and then I could comfort myself in the endless racks of musty and dusty clothes at Thrift Town.

I needed some retail therapy in a major way, and what better way to spend your ducats then at Community Thrift, Thrift Town, and some of the other second-hand shops in the Mission? Of course, right when you think you're getting away from the crazies, you just encounter them again in the aisles of Thrift Town. But there you could at least throw a macrame owl at them.

Nevertheless, good bargains were to be had and I bought a (basically) brand-new pair of black Levi's, a "vintage" short-sleeved, button-down baby blue shirt, a long-sleeved shirt made in the UK that looks exactly like an old Ben Sherman, and a canary yellow (yeah, not usually the color I would pick out) Derby of San Francisco windbreaker.

Most of these I tried on over clothes I had on, but when trying on the baby blue shirt, I had to go bareback. As the day progressed, every little itch I felt made me paranoid that I had gotten cooties from that shirt.

After tiring of shopping, I walked over to Potrero to catch the number 9 bus. Twenty minutes later, a bus rolls up. It's bursting with people, so much so that I can't even see the driver. Instead, I see the driver's hand motioning me to get on at the rear of the bus, which I do.

On the lower step of the back door.

And the door closes in on me as it's trying to shut.

And there's a Mexican family of 12 with trays of drinks and food-to-go from McDonalds precariously perched above my head.

"This a motherfucker", I think.

"If I can just keep it together...all I have to do is wait 'til this bus crosses over to Bayshore and I'm free."

My destination: The Silver Crest Donut Shop

I was really hoping the Silver Crest could pull through for me. It had been a long day and all I'd had eaten was a cup of yogurt and a can of sardines.

I wasn't sure what to expect, but I had been curious about the place ever since the days Goodman's Lumber was in business. The restaurant is located on Bayshore, across the street from McDonalds and Smart and Final. In fact, there's a lot of chains out there, simply because the area has few neighbors – other than the homeless encampment on the hillside at Oakdale and Bayshore – who'd keep them out. Instead, the area is one of the major districts for industrial and factory businesses to operate in, and dives that cater to people who work the graveyard shift abound.

In fact, we're right down the street from Jerrold Market Place.

As I walk in through the front door, I immediately notice that there's no one dining. It's 5:30 PM, so maybe I'm a little early for the late crowd.

I'm seated by a very nice older woman who helps me decide what to order. Hmm, maybe help isn't the right word for it, since when I asked her what the special was and what she recommends, she pushed the $12.95 steak choice on me. I told her that I wasn't that hungry and what about the sandwiches? She recommended the cheeseburger, and pretty soon I realized that, in fact, nothing was really special here.

I also got the feeling that the old Greek husband and wife team who operate the place probably coached her into pushing whatever they could sell.

Prices here weren't cheap, especially for a dive. And believe me, this place is truly a dive.

Some of the menu choices, which includes a large breakfast selection (apparently served 24 hours), include the steak dinner I mentioned earlier, a filet of sole ($10.95), pork chops ($10.95), a deviled egg sandwich ($6.95), and the cheeseburger ($7.95) and cup of coffee ($2.25) I eventually ordered.

While I waited for my cheeseburger to arrive, I sat for a while (took pictures of course), stared at the table jukebox that didn't work (typical selection choice: "greek song"), and watched out of the corner of my eye some haggard, mess of an old man with a $10 fist full of quarters play the pinball machine until it was so abused and tired it appeared to be ready for the glue factory.

In between tipping the machine from side to side (that's cheating, old timer!), he stepped outside for, yes you guessed it, a smoke break.

I myself took a quick jaunt to the men's room, which – have you seen that movie "The Descent"? You know that scene when they're crawling through that narrow passage from one cave to the other and that chick gets stuck and starts freaking out?

Well, imagine that's the men's room at the Silver Crest, only with a 90 watt bulb, neon-blue paint over everything, and the smell of urine wafting up your nose.

One Xanax later, I exit the men's room and walk back to the booth I'm sitting in. But as I do, I pass by the bar which is seperated from the restaurant at the rear of the building. The bar seems like the only place happening, and from the quick glances I gave it, it looks pretty retro. Or at least the bar counter does.

There's a pool table in the back and 70s wood paneling covering the walls. Papa Papodopolous (or whatever his name is) is tending bar and I keep hearing this woman (his daughter? God, I hope not) saying "Papa, how do you say 'moonshine' in greek?"

And, "Papa, how do you say 'Camero' in greek?"

I want to say "Papa, how do you say 'drunken skank ho who should learn greek and shut the fuck up already' in greek?", but then my food comes.

I guess you all are starting to realize that I'm easily annoyed by now, right?

Anyway, set before me is check: condiments, check: napkins, check: coffee, check: plate of food. The cheeseburger is, well, kind of, underwhelming. For one thing, Mama Popodopolous's eyes must be getting worse (or she hit that wine bottle I saw her earlier with a little too hard) because she put the patty on the wrong side of the bun. Now I've gotta eat an upside-down cheeseburger, which considering how my day has gone, is quite fitting.

I'm halfway through the cheeseburger but I've already downed my third cup of coffee. Considering I could've had a Starbucks decaf grande banana mocha light frappuccino light on the cream with extra mocha drizzle to-go for basically the same price, I slammed back the coffee and pounded the mug back on the table.

I devoured the cheeseburger (mostly because I was starving) and starting working on the fries, kicking my South Beach diet in the ass. The fries were hot, but there wasn't much flavor to them. To tell you the truth, they could've been a little more greasy.

Luckily, I couldn't have finished them if I had wanted to. This diet has lowered my food shoveling capacity, and I'm thanking my Higher Power for it as I sit in the Silver Crest waiting for my tab.

The total came to be $11 and a few cents. I give the lady $15 dollars and tell her to keep the change. She looks happily surprised.

I want to tell her "don't get your hopes up, lady."

A good tip from me the first time I'm in a joint is like the kiss of death. When I tip shitty, chances are I'm coming back. Tipping great the first time does nothing but set a too high a standard; one which I typically build up over time if I like a person or place.

I leave the Silver Crest and cross the street to catch the bus. Forty-five minutes later it comes, it's crowded, but I get a seat...in front of a Weed Whacker.

The guy smells like a walking pot club and probably was. He makes a phone call and I listen in. He says to the guy on the other end, "you got a pencil for fifteen?"

What that means, I don’t' know.

But at least it doesn't sound crazy.



At 6:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm glad to see you writing more again lately. I've missed your great prose. Besides, I love a good dive. Not that this seems to have been one. Sorry about that.

I would have commented sooner, but I'm doing that beta testing thing for Blogger and they had a bug which wouldn't let beta bloggers leave comments for non-beta bloggers for a while. Seems to be fixed now.

Anyway, welcome back and keep up the great work... in spite of a crazies.

At 12:37 AM, Anonymous Mike said...

I love the good combination of their food or meal.

At 8:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know, Silver Crest actually has awesome donuts. Occasionally, when they're not stale. Sometimes you get lucky.

At 8:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I will make a suggestion to you. Go and have a beer at Silver Crest on St. George's Day, April 23rd. Most likely,you should bring a friend with you.


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