Always keep your nose to the ground

I completely understand why the world is so enamored with the beauty of San Francisco and especially our neighborhood. Whenever I ride with mom and dad over the Golden Gate Bridge I hear them “ooh and ahh” as if they were tourists for the first time as they gaze at Crissy Field and the hills behind that are smattered with bright buildings inching up the hills. My view is from the safety of the back seat. I peer through the rear door window if I crane my neck because I’m so short. After all, I’m only 8 years old.

Actually, I’m kinda short for my age. Many of my contemporaries are a lot taller than I am so I make up for it by standing as tall as I can, and I’m told I walk with authority. One of mom’s friends calls me Little Man.

Given my status, or lack thereof, my perspective on our neighborhood is maybe a little different. Don’t get me wrong, I’m as in love with our neighborhood as you are, and I wouldn’t want to live in any other city. We are truly blessed. It’s just that I see things from a slightly different perspective.

We walk in the ‘hood a lot. Dad says it’s good for our health, especially because we live up the hill a few blocks above Lombard, and we get to enjoy the fabulous views of the lovely homes, the vistas of the islands, the headlands, and the cities beyond. I don’t notice the stress of walking uphill too much because I’ve never lived and walked anywhere else. What I do notice, however (because I am stature-challenged) are things closer to the ground.

You know that view of our sparkling city from the bridge I mentioned? That’s because it’s three miles away. Up close, the city’s not so sparkling. In fact, nearer to the ground where I live and breathe, it’s pretty trashy. Mom and Dad frequently pick up paper cups and other discarded items as we walk the streets on our way to the Sunday farmers’ market or wherever. “Always leave a place a little nicer than you found it,” Dad says. What I can’t understand is why people would discard empty beer cans, broken bottles, and other trash on the sidewalks of the place most of the rest of the world would give anything to live in.

One thing I’m really grateful for, I must say, is that Marina dwellers are pretty darn good at picking up after their pets. I can’t ever remember seeing a dog owner without a poop bag. Good on us on that one!

Speaking of pets, I do have a pet peeve. Drivers in our neighborhood don’t stop at stop signs — especially on the steep streets like Divisadero. This is dangerous! Again, I see this from my Little Man perspective because I’m closer to the tires than I am to the tops of the cars. Fortunately, both Mom and Dad keep a close eye on me when we are out walking. Good thing, because I can be easily distracted and might step into a crosswalk without carefully looking both left and right.

Now here’s some of the good part. I really like the people I meet in the Marina and Cow Hollow. They are (almost) always very friendly — especially the girls and the young ladies. I get lots of compliments about how handsome and sweet I am. Sometimes they say, “He’s sooo cute!” I’m not so sure about cute, but I do like being noted as handsome and friendly. After all, what’s a neighborhood without friendly folks?

As a citizen of San Francisco, I’m just trying to remind everyone how important it is to keep our special neighborhood as beautiful, clean, and safe as our reputation suggests. All we have to do is a little something everyday to leave each place we go just a little nicer than the way we found it.

Next time, I think, I’ll share “my nose to the ground perspective” on potholes and broken sidewalks.

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Walden Majer is an 8-year-old poodle-bichon mix and starts his nose-to-the-ground perspective each day from Cow Hollow. E-mail: [email protected]