Positioning myself equidistant between the bar and the gallery I lean over to the woman admiring the art on display and, in my best impression of a pretentious modern artist, say, “If you have any questions…”

“Oh,” she smiles. “What’s your name?”

And so we shake hands, I tell her about texture and tone, she tells me about the desert and the flowers and we both pretend to know what we’re talking about. But it doesn’t matter. I get the impression that everybody on 111 Minna Street is pretending.

It’s only 6:30pm but the DJ is already on and playing the kind of house music at the kind of volume that makes any kind of conversation, not least that about modern art, very difficult to conduct. And so for the hour or so that I wait for my late date I sit, look and listen, while Mickey Mouse drills for oil and the ‘common man’ hangs his head in shame. I overhear a white guy with dreadlocks deciphering the painting’s latent symbolism as if he’s breaking the Da Vinci Code.

It’s no wonder the trendy and spendy of San Francisco hang ideological dilemmas on their walls and trouble themselves with meaning. They are some of the luckiest people in the world – and the most content.

“I have absolutely no reason to leave,” Bay Area resident AJ said Tuesday. “And when I do I am ultimately unhappy. There is really no place better.”

AJ wakes up, for much of the year, to cloudless blue skies; there are always palm trees; and the Bay and Golden Gate bridges form a right angle at the north east corner of the city.

And when the DJ finishes tonight, quite bizarrely at 10pm (early is the new late apparently), folks will most likely spill into some of the finest restaurants in the country for a decidedly Mediterranean late dinner. Saint Francis would certainly approve. (Though he was homeless and would appreciate any meal, I imagine.)

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