San Francisco is a wonderful town full of nice people, but the hills and the architecture drive me insane. Ever since I was a young boy I had a hard time dealing with hills or deep inclines. If I walk up a hill, I would feel someone is pushing me to the ground. If I was walking down the hill, I feel like I’m free-falling and I can’t control my balance. I not only get this feeling while walking on a hill, but also in moments of great stress. It had a profound effect on me in that I feel I have to avoid San Francisco as much as possible. Also staircases give me a significant problem as well. Especially if they’re grand staircase or if one has the capability to look down and see the various floors attached to the stairs. The look of depth is a horrifying death to me.
I went with a couple of friends to San Francisco not long ago. Elizabeth and Steven invited me to go with them, because they wanted to check out all the spots that were in the Alfred Hitchcock film “Vertigo.” They both knew about my fear issue, and they said that it was necessary to go with them because for sure they can cure my illness. I had my doubts about that, but also I found myself being slightly attracted to Elizabeth, and I didn’t want to shame myself in front of her, so I said yes.
They picked me up in the morning and we drove up the coast, which was scenic, but also I started to feel a knot in my stomach, that wouldn’t go away. I tried to fall asleep in the back seat of their car, but just as I was in the process of drifting into a sleep, a vision would come to my head and jolted me awake. Yet, I kept my eyes closed during the entire trip. When Elizabeth touched my leg, I opened up eyes and in front of me was the main character, Scottie’s apartment, located at 900 Lombard Street. It was eerie, because the apartment hasn’t really changed at all. Steven wanted to knock on the door, but Elizabeth tried to pull him away. I refused to leave the car. I was beginning to regret this trip and my stomach ache became worse. Steven did knock on the door, where I suddenly closed my eyes. As I peeked, I could see there was no answer, which I thought “thank God!” But then Steven tried to look through a window, and I thought “Oh no.” Luckily no one was there, and it was decided that after a late lunch we will go to Fort Point, which is underneath the Golden Gate Bridge.
At first Elizabeth and Steven wanted to walk on the bridge, but I couldn’t do it, due to the space that seemed endless to me. It made me physically ill to assume that I would find myself in the middle of the bridge, which is 4,200 feet long, and I won’t be able to either go forward or back. Also looking down towards the water was a no-no for me as well. We eventually ended up at Fort Point, which is the famous scene where Madeleine (the lead female character) jumps into the waters, but is saved by Scottie. Elizabeth wanted to be in the exact same location as Madeleine before she jumped. I had to admit that there was something erotic about Elizabeth’s obsession over this film, and watching her play herself, yet under the influence of Madeleine was a sight to behold. Steven was out of the car and telling Elizabeth to “jump, jump.” She didn’t. I kind of wished she did, because I want to see if Steven would jump in to save her… or not.
We stayed in a large hotel near Union Square, and I had a hard time falling asleep due to the thoughts of going to the Mission San Juan Bautista the next day. Also I was clearly having thoughts regarding Elizabeth, and I wasn’t sure what that meant to me or anything else. Fear and eros seem to go together in my world, and I never could figure out what’s the connection is between the two. I also felt strange because I’m so much older than the couple, that I couldn’t imagine why they would want me to go on this trip with them. Nevertheless I was deeply scared, but also totally turned-on at the same time.
When we arrived at Mission San Juan Bautista, I was surprised to see it looking smaller than what it is portrayed in the film. I have heard that they re-built the mission in a Universal Studios back lot, but I’m not sure about that. I have a hard time telling what’s real or not real. I’m one of those people who go to a movie, and totally accepts whatever is on the big screen in front of me. I don’t go to doubt, but I go to accept the images and narration. It doesn’t seem proper for me to question the filmmaker’s intent, because I don’t as an audience member that is my role to do so. I did walk into the entrance with Steven and Elizabeth to the grand winding staircase. I couldn’t even look up, because the knot in my stomach was so painful to me. Both of them ran up the stairs screaming their head off. Steven was first, and kept telling Elizabeth to follow him. They were yelling at me as well, but I could only make it to the third step, and I just felt this emotional wall in front of me where I couldn’t go further. It seemed like it took forever till they reached the top, and Steven and Elizabeth both started to drop objects on me from that immense distance above. I think it was a car key that hit my head. Nevertheless it sort of hurt, and I was compelled to stay in place till they came down the stairs.
I didn’t hear anything. Then all of sudden I heard a sound of two objects hitting the ground outside the door. I yelled out their names, but I only received silence. I walked outside, but with my eyes closed. I walked blindly to the car, got in with the key that they dropped on me, and sat in the back seat. I decided to stay there till they come back.