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The Blind Men and the Elephant

You live in San Francisco and I live in San Francisco, and so does the man who owns the peanut wagon on the corner, and none of us live in the same San Francisco - funny. We're like the blind men who each gave a different version of the elephant.

To some, San Francisco is always eight o'clock in the morning or six o'clock at night, swinging on the straps homeward, swallow their dinners and to a show in the evening. Such people never have wandered through Golden Gate Park of an afternoon or sunned themselves on the benches of Union Square. They have never seen San Francisco by week-day sunlight.

Then there are home women and leisure women to whom San Francisco is always afternoon, down-town in the shopping district with ladies in pretty clothes passing each other on the street or in and out of the sweet-scented stores.

To some, San Francisco is always night. A taxi-driver who used to be a newsboy down on the old Barbary Coast. He has never seen anything but the night life of the city. Not bad, but night provincial - a sort of male version of Trilby.

The neighborhood of Merchants Exchange on California Street is San Francisco to hundreds of men. They ride out to the golf links and into the country on Sunday. Occasionally they go to New York, but when they return San Francisco is limited to the neighborhood where men inquire anxiously - "Is she picking up any in the East?"

No matter how wealthy, no matter how poor, to each of us San Francisco is very much limited in the confines of what each of us is interested in. It's funny when you stop to think about it. How the Master of Marionettes must laugh at us when he sees us together. Perhaps some night after the show, the traffic cop raises his imperial hand and there, waiting to pass, the taxi driver of the night and a dear little home woman with her husband, and Mr. Chamber-of-Commerce and close to him a man who has never seen San Francisco by week day sunlight. There they all wait looking out of their eyes on San Francisco and each seeing it so differently.

San Francisco is one thing to you and another thing to me and something entirely different to the man on the peanut stand.

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