Northside SF  

The Final Word
by Bruce Bellingham

When I think about how frequently the rent seems to be due these days, I begin to consider how, in my advancing age, time seems to be speeding up. When the late, wonderful Kitty Carlisle Hart played the late, great Plush Room a couple of years ago, she told the audience how, at her age (she was 95), she was bewildered by the apparent increased pace of life. “My mother used to say it, too,” Ms. Carlisle intoned. “It’s going too fast. When you get to be a certain age, it seems like it’s breakfast time every 10 minutes.”

That could be the natural tension of time – the tractor beam of advancing age. Or it could have something to with the imminent arrival of the Mayan Cosmogenesis of 2012.

Pat Kelley, the doyenne of the Marina District and the face of the Balboa Cafe, was telling me the other day that the fellows who work in her kitchen, many from Mexico and Central America, are obsessed with this Mayan calendar phenomenon. It doesn’t really portend the end of the world, but rather the end of a major cycle of human experience. Time, as the Mayan calendar tells it, will end. A cycle will end, and a new life, a cosmogenesis, will begin.

That makes me unsettled in any case. A new life? It’s bad enough that I have to get a converter box next month so I can see television.

Sharon Anderson, the arts writer, tells me a little about this end-of-time business from time to time. She’s an avid aficionada of the Maya. 

“We’ll be tapping into the telepathic threshold,” explains Sharon. “We will no longer have to measure time in a linear fashion.” I guess that will be all right – but how will that affect overtime? What am I worried about? Freelancers don’t get overtime. Sharon thinks it will be a good thing to discard the Gregorian calendar. That’s the one we use here in the western world, the calendar that comes with photos of puppy dogs and Hannah Montana with each month of the year. 

“I hope we’ll be rid of Pope Gregory VIII’s nutty idea for how to measure time,” says Sharon.
I’ll see you at vespers, young lady.

One feature of this hallmark of history that’s scheduled to take place on Dec. 21, 2012, is the inexorable acceleration of world events. 

I’ll be darned if that doesn’t seem to be the case. I swear it all seems to be moving faster right now.
Budget surpluses became catastrophic deficits in short order. I also suspect that the Country Music Awards are rolling around far too soon in a nefarious, conspiratorial way. Global warming was supposed to become critical in 20 or 30 or maybe 100 years. Now, it’s looming over us. How did that happen? I thought we’d have more time. Bernie Madoff thought the same thing. The icebergs are melting at a precipitous rate; the food sources are vanishing in the Arctic. The polar bears are about to show up on Polk Street and forage their way through the garbage cans outside the better restaurants. The bears are bummed. They’re confused. They’re bipolar bears now. The beasts might be happy to learn that the drinking water supply around here is reportedly inundated with antidepressants. Now, there’s a thought.

I think it might be a good idea to toss out the calendar and try to give us more time. More time for everything. Remember when the office workers would toss out their old calendars from the high-rises in the Financial District on New Year’s Eve? They don’t do that anymore, do they? I guess no one has the time to pick up all that paper.

Bruce Bellingham is the author of Bellingham by the Bay, published by Council Oak Books. He may be reached at

Browse Column Archives

Bookmark and Share Print Page

September 2011 Issue


Amici's East Coast Pizzeria

Horse Shoe Tavern Amici's East Coast Pizzeria



Alfred's Steakhouse Gallenberg

Grateful Dog Sf Alfred's Steakhouse

Getting to know the Reillys 10 Questions with Chef Todd English June Top Picks

Copyright © 2005 - 2008 NorthSide San Francisco