230 San Francisco, CA: Diverse but Separate

After they left, a girl with bright green eyes stared at Bridle Path, seemingly mesmerized. She bore black high-heeled boots, and a knee-length hooded coat hugged her small waist. Beneath brown hair dyed blond on each side, each ear had three piercings.

She averred that she did not see this painting as isolated. "I never would have guessed that this was by the same artist that did Nighthawks. This seems a little more social. I would say there's isolation amongst the neighborhoods here. San Francisco has a lot of very different neighborhoods, and they change in just a few blocks. They're very conscious of it too. There's not much mixing. It's a very culturally diverse city, but also it's a very separated city."

"I don't know if I really could compare it to any other city. This is a very small city. If you stay in the city, you run into familiar faces. At the same time, it has the big city feel. We all live in these huge apartment complexes [like in the painting]. We no longer know our neighbors."

A white-haired man sidled up, his shoulders draped by a sweater and glasses on a chain. When I looked into his earnest green eyes, I saw where she got hers.

"This is my dad," she explained and told him about my project.

"We came down for the day," he stated in a modulated, fatherly voice, "to visit our daughter. Getting here down to the city can really make you feel like you're isolated. So, are you asking, 'Does community exist without participation?' We used to do a lot more social activities in this country. I don't know if I notice or really feel isolation. Maybe that's part of the problem. Everybody wanders around in their own little world, thinking, 'We're not isolated.' But then they have to ask others, 'Who are you again?'"

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