A not-so-funny thing happened on the way to The Salt House. I was on the 38 and passing the time with my usual crossword when this lady across from me starts up a conversation. She was actually a male who identifies as female, if you want to get technical. She was wearing short shorts, a tank top, and false eyelashes. She had a little chihuahua and she was playing with it. Her tone was just a few octaves above what any sane person might use, so that was my first clue. I smiled at her and she started to tell me about her dog, how expensive he was to care for. I told her that “they pay us back though in other ways,” which was the only thing I could think to say.
Her face squinched up. “How you know that?” she said rather accusingly. Oh dear. I told her I had a dog too, showed her a picture of my dachshund/cocker mix, and then made the comment that both of our dogs were cute and stumpy. She pulled her dog to her chest, disgusted, and told me in no uncertain terms did she have no short-ass muthafucking dog. “He's a reindeer chihuahua, bitch!”
So the next thing that happened you might have seen out in public yourself and thought, “Oh my, that poor person.” She proceeded to tell me everything that was wrong with my appearance in front of everyone on the bus; I was fat, raggedy, stanky, white, stuck up, etc. “I wouldn't even fuck you with my dick!” she added, which was pretty deep when you think about it. She so hated her male alter-ego that she wouldn't even wish his pecker on anyone.
Did I mention we were stuck in traffic for like 10 minutes too?
When the bus finally got to Second Street I fucking jumped off that looney Muni and ran to The Salt House as fast as my fat raggedy ass could take me. HAPPY HOUR said the sign out front. “C'mon get happy!” sang the Partridge Family through my head.
I have to say that the Salt House is so chic, the clientele so trendy and rich, that it's not exactly the best place to go right after you have had your self-esteem pummeled by a roguish RuPaul. The bartender didn't seem to notice my fugliness though and before long I was back to my old, gorgeous self.
The Salt House has a popular happy hour that starts at the very respectable 2 p.m. The bartenders make cute little concoctions (emphasis on little; these are tapas cocktails) that nevertheless lead to appetizer plates eventually. Prepare to drop some dough in here. It has jumped on the poutine bandwagon that everyone seems to be into but I just can't bring myself to try. The rest of the offerings, both liquid and solid, are pretty garden-variety, high-end S.F. indulgences. The main draw for me on this night was the fact that it was not the 38 bus.
The Salt House has what I would call white-washed brick walls and dramatic diagonal support beams at the front. I always like businesses that are not afraid to name themselves after something “unhealthy.”
We were at the juncture of SoMa and the Financial District, so you can probably imagine what most of the customer base looked like. I sat near some men in suits who looked like they were only about two or three years out of college. Had they felt like they had arrived? Or were they only getting started?
Hey, this was a good sign, I had sort of forgotten that I had just been raked over the coals. My faith in humanity was slowly being restored.
I remembered a story I heard earlier this summer, something I told myself I would hold on to and bring up whenever I had my doubts about humanity. I was having dinner at the house of a retired nurse who was friends with my friend Ernestine. She said that one night she and her husband were driving back from somewhere and they saw a horrible accident on the road. No one else was around and it had just happened. She saw a dead woman in the middle of the road, her head turned completely around the wrong way. She saw the other car but noticed that there was no one in it. Her husband went to get help, but she went immediately into nurse mode and climbed down the embankment trying to find the other person, all the while saying, “Hello, are you OK? Help is coming. Please hold on, help is coming.” She kept repeating that and telling the person (she hoped) to keep breathing, to try to hold on. She never found anyone and then the ambulance and police came. They began to search and call, so she and her husband continued their drive home.
A few weeks later she was at work, getting the ward ready for the evening shift. She went from room to room saying, “Lights out time, let me know if you need anything…”
Suddenly she heard a voice say, “Who is that!? Who is the woman saying that!?” She went into the room and there was a man, badly hurt and bandaged. “I will always remember that voice!”
Yeah, you guessed it, gentle reader, it was the man who had been thrown from his car. He told her that he wanted to drift off and die that night but he kept hearing her soothing calls and that kept him alive.
“Wow, I will always remember that too,” I told her.
Faith in humanity: Restored.
Oh yeah, and “It's a reindeer chihuahua, bitch!” is my new catchphrase. Feel free to borrow it.