Vive Le Google

at 11:35 PM

I dismount from the Corbett 37 bus. Happily and sadly, the 37 stops right in front of my door. Directly across the street is a bit of greenery, a bench, and usually a bunch of men with shopping carts. Today I see three well-dressed couples huddled over a map.

I have been lost in a lot of great places. Millbrae, Mombasa. The Stockton Street garage.  Where would I be without "the kindness of strangers?"  I offer my help.

A guy separates from the group. With a French accent, and the precise intonation of an SNL Conehead, he says, "We are from France.  I am a French man.  We are looking for ze bleu 'ouse."

Confused, I echo "ze bleu 'ouse." He nods.

I'm stuck. Wait! I run into my house and grab my Mac. I cry out: "Nous Google-ons!"

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My French friend crouches beside me and says, "Oui. Google Maxime LeForestier." I google. They gasp.  Zut alors!

I discover LeForestier is not only a famous French singer and songwriter, but a friend to Allen Ginsberg. In 1971, LeForestier lived in a blue house in the Castro. He wrote his now trademark and most popular song, "San Francisco," aka "La Maison Bleue."

Attention! After years of being painted light green, the house is blue again.  Google provides the correct address on 18th Street.

LeForestier's acolytes clutch their revised map.  Amid cries of delight, the French move in a unit towards their goal.

I ruminate on our iconic sites: The Painted Ladies, Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, and now, "Ze Bleu 'Ouse."

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With a Perspective, I'm Patricia Needle.

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