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Exit Singing

By Betsey Culp

Somewhere outside my window a large woman is warming up her vocal cords. Trills and scales mingle with the strains of San Francisco, and I Left My Heart in San Francisco, and San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Some Flowers in Your Hair).

Good songs.

They start me thinking about how much this city has changed in the past few years. San Francisco and the world it inhabits have traveled far since the day in January 2000 when I invited then-mayor Willie Brown to visit my neighborhood. The occasion was Our Mayor’s second inauguration; the invitation was part of the SF Call’s inaugural issue, a column called “Walkin’ the walk, talkin’ the talk.”

Our Mayor never took me up on my offer, but you and I have shared a whole lotta walkin’ and talkin’ and shakin’ ever since.

This spring, however, I came to realize that decades of hunching over first a hot manuscript and then a hot computer keyboard have done unspeakable things to my neck. Not a good situation at all. And when my computer crashed not once but three times ¾ pesky critters, those viruses! ¾ it seemed like somebody somewhere was trying to tell me something.

I got the message: Basta! Dayenu! Enough!

Time to give it a rest.

Time to leave the stage.

The voice outside my window asks, “What would you choose as your swan song?”

The answer is easy ¾ a column I wrote for the San Francisco Flier in 1998, when the city was only tentatively beginning to edge toward its latest changes, when even Mission Bay was nothing more than a pair of stars in Nelson Rising’s and David Prowler’s eyes. It’s called “Whose Dreams?”

Now that zaftig soprano is singing in earnest.

And so the SF Call is ending its run. The articles will remain, at least as long as I can pay the internet bills. But there will be no new postings.

My thanks to the people who contributed, thoughtfully and gracefully, to its pages over the past five years. You have helped to make San Francisco a far more interesting place.

See you in the real world.