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Rain or Shine

All the Devilís Parties

People always ask me if it rains a lot in San Francisco. I usually say no, but thatís because I most recently lived in a place where it would rain non-stop for days. I rarely saw the sun.

Rainy weather makes most people feel depressed ó you want to be with people but you have no motivation to get yourself to where they are.

Last weekend was definitely a wet one, and I had no desire to leave my house. Between the pre-Thanksgiving potlucks, thunderstorms, and random rays of sunshine, my time was spent running outside to catch a rainbow, fighting my way home through wind, rain, and crammed buses, or simply stuck in a food coma.

Sunday night I broke loose, pulled out my winter coat for the first time this year and jumped on the 49. I was going out rain or shine. The moment I stepped off the bus it started pouring again (I, of course, left my borrowed umbrella at home). I met up with some friends, drank some mulled wine, and had some fireside chats ó without the fire. Everywhere a fireplace facade, yet nowhere an actual fireplace.

We walked up and down Sacramento Street past a foggy Grace Cathedral and into the heart of Chinatown. The short walk was free of rain and people. The silence of the city normally dense with sounds was a rare treat, until it became kind of eerie.

The bouncer checked our IDs and that was it. We were inside the kitschy bar that was, surprisingly, rather full. The ATM was broken so we had to get cash outside across the street, and when we entered again the bouncer didnít remember us and checked our IDs a second time. There was no cover.

We heard music but couldnít tell where it was coming from. Neither of us had ever been to the Li Po Lounge, but I knew the party Sweater Funk happened there every Sunday, and I was determined to find it. We followed the signs to the bathrooms, and then continued through a dark concrete hallway to find a dark steamy basement where late 70s and 80s soul jams were blasting. Although there werenít that many people, a definite dance party was going on.

The space was big enough to really show off and there were booths around the perimeter if you needed to take a breather. No one really seemed to be interested in anyone else; you could certainly let loose down there. I imagined myself breaking out into a Flashdance inspired routine, complete with a bucket of water splashing over me. I wished I hadnít just cut my hair so it would be less sleek and more all over the place. I really wanted to be wearing a thong-leo.

We walked through the party and back upstairs. We knew we didnít really want to dance and we definitely didnít want to stay in the basement like wallflowers. Instead, we grabbed a place at the bar.

Because sometimes you just want a drink. It doesnít matter how good the music is, how much you love to dance or how cold it is outside, sometimes you travel across town for a party and realize you are really there to catch up with an old friend or get to know a new one. The rain probably wonít go away, but neither will all the people. You just have to go outside.