The evening was innocent enough.
A friend invited me to dinner at a hip new restaurant on Folsom Street, in San Francisco. The city is changing, and along with it, so is Folsom Street. There are now ultra hip restaurants and new green lofts alongside the leather and chain joints and stores.
We ate at what I would term a modern diner. Delicious American food - a clientele of mixed ages, colors, and genders.
Before we left I went to the bathroom. Or at least, I thought that was where I was going. I walked to the kitchen and was redirected. The friendly hostess came up to me, pointed toward a door on the side, and said the code is 0699, or something similar. I punched in the code, a green light flashed and I entered an entirely different dimension. Pitch dark, flashing strobe lights, mirrors lining the walls, earsplitting pulsating music. I remained stock still gaping, unsure of what universe I had entered. The DJ busy with switches and what have yous happened to look up and pointed towards the back of the room - I think it was the room and I think it was the back. I stumbled my way along, unsure of whether to dance, skip or walk. In the vibrating dark I felt my way right, left, right, and saw a door with the welcome word, restroom. Inside a sign bore instructions to inform someone if you didn't like what you saw or if you felt harassed - I think it meant outside the restroom.
I then fumbled and tripped my way back. My only guiding light was the on again off again glimpse of the DJ amongst the strobe lights and the loud insistent music and the mirrors. Will I ever get back to the world I had exited, I wondered. I opened a door and there I was, back in the relative quiet of the decently lit diner.
I warned my friend who returned as surprised as I had been, even though he had been forewarned. I felt like Harry Potter opening an innocent door to an entirely new universe.
Things have changed in San Francisco, especially south of Market, and they weren't exactly sane before!