I spent the weekend in San Francisco - for the premiere of Doctor Atomic by John Adams. (I worked on John's score for many months.)
Personal interactions with strangers in San Francisco seem more memorable and more frequent than they do in Pasadena:
1) A panhandler in North Beach asked for a handout. I replied "Sorry" . He shouted "That's not very Christian." I shouted back "I'm not a Christian and proud of it." He shouted something further which I missed.
2) An older, very courtly gentleman eating breakfast who borrowed my cream for his cereal. He was on his way to visit an ailing friend. He was a WWII veteran - at least 80 I guess. I would have liked to talk to him more. Somehow he figured out I wasn't a San Franciscan.
3) The woman in an elevator asking me about the quote "All roses seem the same sweetness". I suggested "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet." She repeated that and added "or Pachuco". I have no clue what she meant.
4) A woman near me on Bart talking to a complete stranger in some detail about how the flesh was scooped from Jesus' body. She was certain that "it was just like in movie The Passion of the Christ". I betcha someday Mel Gibson's complete Bible movie will replace the written word altogether.
5) A man my age in Starbucks who bent my ear for half an hour about how many college women couldn't wait to have sex with him. His favorite word was "organic".
6) A group of us crammed onto a Muni train who became friends very quickly - imagine 5 strangers in a phone booth. I had my money in my hand but never got to slide it into the machine. Thanks for the free ride.