Ian spent New Year's Eve in the streets of San Francisco. He wandered through this town that never ceased to surprise him. Occasionally he stopped for a drink in a bar, or he peeped into a club where music was being played. He was greeted in the street by a group of gruesomely painted men and women in eccentric outfits, who complained that their costume ball had been dispersed by the police. Now they were on their way to a house belonging to one of them, where the party would continue. They invited Ian to go with them. It was only when they were in the house and had begun to dance that Ian noticed that even those in this weird group that looked like women, were in fact men. He had never in his life seen so many homosexuals all together. He decided he had better make himself scarce.
He then walked to his favourite spot in Van Ness Avenue, from where there was a wonderful view of the sea. Ian adored its smell. It was much more noticeable here in San Francisco than in New York and the water looked different on each occasion.
"Today you are steel grey, mysterious and indifferent," he told the sea.
He realized that in the past he had also liked thinking up attributes and comparisons. But then he had been describing beautiful women.
Dawn broke on the first day of the new year.