First sign of February: The cherry trees blossom. They've actually been in bloom for nearly a week now. I just haven't had time to write this note until today.
Every year, like clockwork, the cherry trees on our street and on the surrounding streets blossom in early February. Then it gets just cold enough to kill the blooms, and they go back to looking like bare twigs stuck in the sidewalk. This cycle might happen more than once (bloom, die, bloom, die). Then in March or April, they stay in bloom when the weather decides not to get below 55 for several months. Then the cherries appear. Then the cherries ripen and fall, leaving purplish-red paintball splatters all over the sidewalk.
Another sign of February: Huge crowds of people out and about. Yesterday (day of the Chinese New Year's Parade), as I was going to work, I was amazed at the sheer volume of people clogging up the sidewalks of the Castro. But I suppose it makes sense, seeing how it had rained for a couple of days prior to that. Maybe they were all going stir crazy and had to get out of the house.
Then there's the sign of just plain city livin' at its finest. About half an hour ago, as Chip and I left the gym and walked up Market Street, a man in his late twenties or early thirties was coming in the opposite direction toward us on the sidewalk. He stopped right in front of us, looked us square in the eyes and said in all sincerity, "Peet's Coffee is for people who can admit they're not bulemic." Then he walked on past us.