For many years I’ve worked Tuesday mornings at Daniel’s garden on Potrero Hill. Farley’s Café just down the hill has been a perfect spot for the midday caffeine fix, with its worn wooden floors and shelves of battered journals that customers fill with doodles and deep thoughts. Many times I’ve gotten a sandwich at Hazel’s Kitchen next door and eaten it at Farley’s. I always thought it was remarkably generous of Farley to share the space, even providing a tub to collect the little plastic baskets that Hazel uses.
Recently Farley’s got a remodel and has become a factory for the techno-tribe, everyone busily tapping and digitizing, no free table in sight, and none in prospect. The first two times I went in after the remodel I didn’t really notice how radical the change was because, paradoxically, I was discombobulated by the displacement of the service area, now in the middle of counter a straight shot from the entrance, a chute where you feel one of a herd. I got a coffee and left quickly.
Of course it will never happen to you, that you will turn into a crankypants grousing about the old days with the better music and the better values. Didn’t you think that? Well here I am, having gone down that road, and it’s a bumpy one to nowhere so I better enjoy the ride. Humor me. Who said they could turn Farley’s into a dead zone? Farley? I can’t begin to understand how he makes money off their one decaf nonfat latte per hour. And what if someone spilled something on a keyboard? Call State Farm?
I know I know I know, I’m spitting into the wind. Our neighboring hill, Bernal, is turning into the Illyria of the young and lavishly compensated. What am I saying? Is turning? Has turned. Past perfect. There are redoubts of Ye Olde Ways but their days are numbered. But then whose days aren’t.
Somebody’s working on that now, immortality, tap tap tap. And colonizing Mars. This place is becoming a dump.
Hey there, if you’re reading this on your computer at Farley’s, hi. I’m the guy right behind you in the black fleece jacket, waiting for a table.