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Point of (a Great) View 

Wednesday, Dec 24 2008
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In my hour of darkness, in my time of need, I turn to the one source of comedy that always manages to pull me out of my rut: Conservapedia.com, the "conservative answer" to Wikipedia. It is run by Phyllis Schlafly's son Andrew, if that is any indication, and its entries are, simply put, batshit crazy. In its "unbiased" entry on Barack Obama, por ejemplo, there is this lil nugget: "When he takes office, President Obama will be the first person having ties to a known former terrorist to gain control over America's nuclear weapons."

I have always been fascinated with the idea of right and wrong; that is, how do you know what the truth is? Conservatives are just as passionate as liberals are, but who holds the actual truth? Then I go to Conservapedia, and I am reminded of Stephen Colbert's cogent point: "The facts have a liberal bias."

The hardest thing about being an adult is having to weigh your perceptions and misperceptions against someone else's in a mature fashion (when you are a kid, you simply throw your Lego at the other person). These misperceptions could be between you and your boss, or you and your partner, or you and your neighbor. Whenever there is a disagreement, you have to assess your own perceptions, try to see the other side, and come up with a solution.

I was doing just that at the bar at Laszlo on Mission, adjacent to Foreign Cinema. I was arguing with a friend who had given me a stray dog out of the blue three weeks prior. Said friend found the dog at the side of the road, knew I had been contemplating getting one, and surprised me with him on election night. Immediately I knew that he was a challenge. He wasn't fixed or trained, plus he was a border collie and never wanted to leave my side (like, ever, not even in the shower), let alone be left alone while I was at work. Not a good match. I tried to find a home for the dog, and had even given him to friends in Santa Cruz for a week, though it didn't work out with them, either.

Though I was initially touched by the gift of the dog, it wasn't until this week that I realized that I was feeling resentful and that all of the responsibility for finding him a home now rested on my shoulders, even though I hadn't asked for it.

I sat on a barstool at Laszlo, on the cellphone with my friend, trying to talk over the commotion. There was some sort of office Christmas party happening at the bar, with middle-aged suits chitchatting and laughing over white wine and pale ale.

One thing I really like about Laszlo is that it has to be the darkest bar in the city; "low lighting" doesn't even cover it. But there is something sterile about it that isn't very inviting, and the bartender had the personality of quick-dry cement. Here, again, is the fallacy of perception, which is in turn the fallacy of journalism, if you want to call this column that (again, it's all about perception). I can say that I like the bar because it is dark, but that I didn't like the bartender, so does that mean that Laszlo inherently sucks? Some people might not care whether a bartender is friendly; they just want a drink. Other people like to be able to clearly see the person sitting next to them. At any rate, while I was in mid-argument on my phone, the bartender suggested that I go to Medjool next door, which has a rooftop terrace bar. That sounded really appealing, so I left.

All I can say about the terrace bar is wow. Cool! It is expansive, with tons of tables, and has an area covered with the kind of tent you rent at weddings. It was a clear night, though a bit nippy, so I sat under the stars and a heat lamp instead. I recognized the view as the same one from at Dolores Park, with downtown laid out to the northeast. It's one of the best vistas in town. My waitress was just fantastic, too — very attentive, with just the right amount of chattiness. My eagle had landed.

Still, I was dealing with my dog resentments, and my friend's seeming denial of the situation. After two weeks, the dog was incredibly attached to me, and I to him. I had been trying to train him. It was hard, like having a toddler all of a sudden, but I was willing to do it if my friend helped me pay for training the dog, and paid back the family who took him in for a week and got him needed medical attention. My friend was not willing.

"Judge Judy would say that you are ultimately responsible for the dog, since you rescued it and I didn't ask for it," was my response.

"Nooo," my friend said, "Judge Judy would say that we should take it to the pound if it is not working out."

Well, that was probably right, but as many sad pet owners have found on Judge Judy, she doesn't consider the emotional tax on a person who has to surrender an animal. This dog would be heartbroken to be dumped, and I would be a wreck to have to do it, never knowing his fate. I resented being put in that position. Big time.

(The next day, when the dog turned vicious at the park for no apparent reason, I tearfully took him to the SPCA and surrendered him. It was awful.)

Medjool was playing the strangest mix of music, which, aside from my argument, was a distraction from the lovely view. I walked in while the Darkness was playing, only to hear a segue into House of Pain and then some "young country" song; it was like Muzak for dyslexics. "It's the bartender's iPod," the waitress said. I ordered some appetizers, thinking they would be tiny plates (this was San Francisco, after all), only to find a mountain of Asian and Mediterranean food delivered for cheap. 'Twas tasty, too.

My conversation with my friend ended with me giving up, as I usually do, in a codependent slump. I would have to let this go. He thought he was in the right; I thought I was in the right. "I don't want to feel guilty," he said defiantly.

Now, if this column were written by him, the story would probably read differently, and I acknowledge that. Though in this case, in my opinion, the facts have a Katy bias. So there.

The waitress bounced over one last time to give me the bill, and I gladly gave her a big fat tip. I boarded the elevator and sailed down to street level, emerging on Mission in front of the lady who sells tamales from the trunk of her car. I personally would think twice about eating one myself, though I've heard they are the best in town. But these things are relative.

About The Author

Katy St. Clair

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