Taking my date to a fertility party…with snakes

Love comes in all forms, and in San Francisco, you’ll encounter love and relationship rituals you never imagined possible. For example (and what an example), writer Anna Pulley shares a story about a fertility party she covered as a reporter. This may also be why she’s not allowed to plan dates anymore—WORTH IT!

She is the author of The Lesbian Sex Haiku Book (with Cats!), which Cheryl Strayed called a “must-read,” which Tegan and Sara said was “an adorable and hilarious way to start the day,” and which Jennifer Tilly said was “thoroughly charming.”

In addition to aweing the creative rich and famous, she gives sex and relationship advice on her blog and in weekly advice columns for The Chicago Tribune’s RedEye and (formerly) AfterEllen. Anna also holds the distinction of competing in the very first Muni Haiku battle in Clarion Alley.

Listen to Anna’s story here:
Google Play

p.s. As fertility ritual parties go, you might not want to listen to this episode with your kids; or just be prepared to do lots of explaining!

Got your own very-SF strange and wonderful ritual to report? San Francisco Diaries is looking for your personal stories about what it means to live here, and what makes our city “so San Francisco.” Tag us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Our email inbox is always open.

Three things to do when someone passes out on BART

What would you do if you saw someone passed out on BART and you’re not really sure what’s going on? This happened to rider Ginger M., who saw a young man on BART who was not in such good shape. As she considered the possibilities, she saw another passenger approach the man with such compassion and kindness that really made an impression on her.

Here’s Ginger’s story:

While riding on BART in the afternoon to work there was a person so passed out that they were hanging over the end of the seat. There was much blond hair hanging down and food strewn around.


1st thought: Junkie?
2nd thought: Are they dead?
3rd thought: Are they okay; is this a person who has been drugged and assaulted?
4th thought: Should I tell someone?
5th and full thought through this entire thing: Should I do something?


While I was asking myself all sorts of questions, a black man who was sitting behind me moved up to sit behind this person, whom other people had moved away from. He sat for a moment and then spoke to the passed out person who turned out to be a young man in velvet pants.


They talked. Talked in good ways.


We all got off at the same stop together and I watched that wonderful man walk with him to get him to a good place.

I will never forget that act today. One of courage. And one of great compassion. To that man today, I honor you.

A good lesson of compassion on public transit or anywhere. Thanks, Ginger! Got other important news for your fellow riders? Tag us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Our email inbox (muni.diaries.sf@gmail.com) is always open!

San Francisco Diaries: How I met the pigeon version of me

Being an adult isn’t easy, especially when you live in San Francisco where “everyone is perpetually in their late-20s to mid-30s.” So when you end up in San Francisco alone when you’re 22, you do what anyone would do: Go wild and make age-22 type of mistakes.

“Looking back now, it’s a miracle I didn’t die. I got in a lot of shady situations. I lost my beloved leather jacket. I left my Blackberry in a cab. In recovery, they say you have to hit rock bottom before you can get better. But my rock bottom just kept getting lower and lower. I drunkenly ran through the surf on Ocean Beach at 1 a.m. and almost got swept out to sea. I hooked up with a Santa Con Santa on the back patio of Mad Dog in the Fog. I was 22 and alone and nobody was around to stop me so I kept going and kept pushing the limits of what I could get away with and still live.”

Today’s story is from Vivian Ho, who you may remember was the criminal justice reporter at The San Francisco Chronicle from 2011 through 2017. She’s reported on the Mario Woods shooting, the San Francisco Police Department, wildfires, and she recently published an incredible investigative piece called “A Life on the Line.”

She’s seen a lot of San Francisco, from the incredibly serious and life-and-death moments to the more quirky and offbeat happenings around town. This story falls under the more quirky side of the spectrum—and we’ve never felt more spiritually connected to the cooing pigeons on our fire escapes.

Listen to her story here:


Special thanks to Vivian for sending over the first photo she’s ever taken with Drew, before the pigeons came into their lives.

You, too, can add an entry to our collective journal. San Francisco Diaries is looking for your personal stories about what it means to live here, and what makes our city “so San Francisco.” Tag us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Our email inbox is always open!

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Steve Pepple sounds off on the BMW experience in San Francisco

Many of us didn’t give city transit a passing thought before we actually had a stake in the game as real-life commuters/fans/foes. In this episode, Steve Pepple reminds us that a passion for the shared experience of public transportation can start even in the most unlikely places.

Sharp-eared listeners may also remember him from a previous episode of this podcast, in which he regaled us with a tale of the time he accidentally wandered into a secret furry party while looking for the bathroom at a cafe. But he’s got all kinds of other stuff going on: Steve is on the board of San Francisco Transit Riders, a rider-supported group for world-class transit in San Francisco. And he’s a designer at OpenGov, where he works toward making cities more livable, whether he’s working on a budget or a bus.

Listen to Steve’s entire story in today’s podcast:
Google Play

Is your own story burning a hole in your brain? Want to share an unexpected conversation with a stranger that stuck with you? We are all ears at muni.diaries.sf@gmail.com.

Pic by Right Angle Images

Sweet goodbye letter from Red Door Cafe

When Red Door Cafe first took over another coffee shop in my neighborhood, I hadn’t realized the owner had changed. One day I walked in and saw that the soup of the day was called, “Egyptian Viagra.” I asked the guy behind the counter what it was. He said, with a wink, “Me!”

It turned out his name is Ahmed and he was the new owner. Over the next few months I realized he was going to make our block magical. Soon people would line up out the door for his breakfast plates (which almost always featured a paper umbrella).

While you waited in line, instead of numbers, he handed you dilapidated doll parts and broken teddy bears so every weekend morning I’d see a line of hungry people holding broken dolls, kind of like a zombie apocalypse.

I’d see him with a different outfit everyday: one day he’s wearing a tutu (he has better legs than anyone I know), another day he’s wearing bright green terry cloth hot shorts. He was always bantering with the line of people waiting on the sidewalk, while playing disco and dance music all morning long.

He would post all kinds of sassy signs at the door: “No egg white yuppies.” “Don’t wear sunglasses or drink Starbucks coffee while you wait in line for my food. I want to see your eyes and I sell coffee.” Every day when I passed by Red Door Cafe I’d always look in the window to see what new missive might have been posted this week.

Today I saw this letter in his window and it just made me smile.

To all my lovely customers and friends: after nearly a decade of incredible laughs and good times with all of you at this magical cafe, I decided to sell the business opportunity to the talented and good hearted new owners. By doing so I can recharge and reinvent myself and my humble vegetarian and vegan cooking.

This has been the BEST chapter of my life. I met you, I fed you, and I fell in love with you. Watching you all moan as you ate my food made my heart dance. Seeing the whole cafe roar in loud laughter at all my silly jokes and good banter made me love life and smile like a new born baby. Read more

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