Saturday, October 11, 2008

One Lorraine Ct., San Francisco, CA

I took the bus for the first time, apple fritter in hand, to the San Francisco Columbarium where I met up with Alice. The Columbarium is a place where, instead of getting a headstone on a lawn, you purchase a drawer with a glass front to put you and some of your stuff inside, called a niche (as in, niche in history). It was actually pretty amazing, and it made me feel all sorts of things. I appreciated the brevity of a life explained in a diroama, but ultimately felt like it was falling short of reality. Alice and I talked about it while walking to her car afterwards-- the quest for immortality seemed sort of escapist. The staff was eerily cheerful-- we were met by a woman who gave us all this literature about grieving and offered us coffee and tea. Alice and I swiveled around in huge comfy beige chairs in a conference room where a display of available urn types was advertised in cocktail menu format while she told us about how to go on a self-guided tour. Then the woman showed us where Carlos Santana's dad was located-- it was sort of sweet and very weird how excited this 45 year old white woman with dyed red hair was about proximity to a celebrity. I wonder if she's claimed her own "niche" yet-- I should've asked. Maybe it's next to Papa Santana.
Anyways, Alice and I walked around and ooed and ahed at all the things to see. She liked the pretty set ups and I loved the chemical reactions interred ashes were having on the copper urns they were inside (look at the picture!). Some of the drawers had condensation sweating on the inside of their glass, which was sort of repugnant. As Alice pointed out, the entropy kind of threw the immortality angle out the window. The columbarium was hosting an open house event today for baby-boomers and their parents because the main building is almost sold out (gasp!). Don't worry though, there are plans for more buildings with more niches, but it's not like there's going to be one for everyone, so hurry-- this is San Francisco afterall.

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