“He told me I was slow. He told me to smile. I told you I never look at people” she said, slouched over an imitation redwood patio chair and table. Her voice powered only by the little air left in her deflated lungs. Her confidant, eager to be the bootstrap that lifted her up expressed, “The same amount of knowledge and experience you get, you suffer.” What otherwise would have seemed misguided advice, lifted up by the spirited, romantic accent that only a Frenchman could engage in so effortlessly.

Salumeria, at the corner of Florida Street and 20th Street, was alive with stressed out 20 somethings, and the late Saturday brunch goers. The overcast sky carried chill breezes and moments of warm serenity. The sidewalk tables offer a calm view of the bikes and pedestrians weaving their way around these city blocks. As I listened to this downtraught girl, I can’t help but notice the building across the street sporting grafetti that reads, “Stress Pressure”. Just underneath a cracked window sporting an “I *heart* SF” and “Vote YES on Prop F” posters. A locally, politically conscience neighborhood. There are more languages being spoken here than I could ever hope to identify. And, although the restaurant supports a light menu and carefree vibe, life finds its way in through those who have made Salumeria their lunch time destination. As she finished off her butterleaf and pepita seed salad, she and I could feel the weight of the pressure she brought with her from somewhere else. High drama on an open-ended sidewalk, perfect for taking it all in, and then, in a fleeting second, letting it all go.

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