I have a routine (surprise!) when I go to San Francisco. It’s some version of this: Go to North Beach, eat and drink at Calzone’s on Columbia Ave, buy a book at City Lights, have a beer (or more) at Vesuvio, and walk up to Coit Tower with my buzz.

Ok, it’s pretty much exactly that, and I’ve been doing it since 1998.

I realize there is plenty else to do in San Francisco, and sometimes I do some of that stuff, too. But it’s mostly out of some affected spirit of adventure, which I like to pretend I have. You could say my “spirit of adventure” is more of a “nagging guilt.” Like: I really should see something new.

But mostly I don’t care. I like to go to North Beach, and I’m fine if that’s all I do. The older I get, the less I use the word “should.” And the less nagging guilt I feel. And the more I listen to my compulsions, I suppose.

Mitch lives in the Bay Area now. I don’t know if he knew he was actually being dragged along on a compulsive ritual last Saturday. If he did, he didn’t let on. I tried to make it seem spontaneous (…I think there’s a place we can eat over here…), and we hit the necessary spots, along with a few bonus ones: The Crooked Street (Lombard). And “Dave’s Bar” downtown.

But I did take in something new this trip despite myself: On Sunday, I wound up in Civic Center Plaza for the UC Hastings Law School Graduation (congrats Mel) and I got to see City Hall, The SF Public Library, and Choi Jeong Hwa’s “Breathing Flower” which is temporarily breathing there.