Patrick, Rob, and Shawn (left to right) enjoy their afternoon drinks at the 500 Club, and offer their hard-earned wisdom about love.

In celebration of Valentine’s Day — perhaps the only holiday in human history dedicated to an emotion — we’re going to be gathering advice from Mission denizens about love’s buoyant and treacherous waters. This is the first in a series.

500 Club, 2:40 p.m.

Patrick: You’re talking to the right person about this, actually. I’ve written a lot of songs about love. What were they called? “Love is the Wrong Way” — that was the first. Johnny Cash does it better than I do.

Rob: The best advice I ever got about love was to never fall in love. I never followed it, of course. I never listen to my friends.

Patrick: I used to tell people not to fall in love with me, because I’d just get mad and run off or something. You’re always in love with the one who doesn’t love you, or at least I am. I’m still in love with Melinda. That was some 20 or 30 years ago. What’s the craziest thing I ever did for love? I got married. That’s fuckin’ crazy.

Rob: Yeah, I got drunk, we drove to Reno, we drove for hours. We got married, I got her initials tattooed on my finger. I’ve been picking it off ever since. See that? It’s a “P.” Yeah, it’s almost off of there.

Shawn: [just returned from a smoke] The craziest thing I’ve ever done for love? I started sleeping in my pants, because I moved into an SRO.

Rob: He was with his girlfriend. He cheated on her, and so she left him. And he moved into an SRO. He was living with his dad.

Shawn: Yeah, we were sleeping in the same bed. It was dirty, it was nasty. So I had to keep my pants on.

Rob: He had to hit rock bottom to realize what he had was good. All he had to do was show a little bit of effort. Now they’re living together in San Francisco.

Shawn: It was about being accountable. It was just humbling.

Rob: Who knows what the difference is between love and lust, anyway? I can’t tell them apart.

ML: So you’ve never been in love?

Rob: Oh, I know for sure I’ve been in love. When you can’t really function without that person — that’s how you know.

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Christine Mai-Duc, a political reporter and foodie from Sacramento, got lost on her first walk through the Mission-not only in the barrio's backstreets but also in its cultural fabric. It landed her on the porch of those elusive Mission locals who know Philz- the man instead of just the coffee landmark.

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  1. And it’s kind of ironic that Brianna’s picture is her and another person holding cocktails in their hands.

    1. People get drunk all the time and it’s fine, Scum. Clearly I’m no teatotaler and I’m also not a hypocrite. Alcoholism IS a problem. Maybe you haven’t had the misfortune of dealing with its dark and destructive side. I know (and like very much) two-thirds of these guys, too. The article is ridiculous.

      1. It’s cool Brianna, I had to quit drinking for two years because I was getting out of control. If I bump into you at the 500 the first drink is on me.

  2. A girl came in to a bar I was working at in The Mission and recognized me from when she was going out with a friend of mine 14 years before. We got drunk a couple of times and I asked her out. We have been together now for over 5 years. We live together and are registered domestic partners, all because two people got drunk in a Mission bar. P.S. I know those guys in the article.

  3. The editors weren’t satisfied with my previous comment, so allow me to elaborate:
    Try interviewing someone at an Al-Anon or AA meeting to hear some real “hard-earned wisdom about love” instead of this jibbering horseshit.

    1. (my response to your original comment, which I just found and have posted)

      Brianna: We never like to lose readers. Maybe you could tell us what you found offensive. We do a lot of hard news and feel like it’s also interesting to go with the holiday to try and do something on Valentine’s Day – something different.

      Heart Murmur and Missed Connections represent our effort. The idea with Heart Murmur is to go to different places in the Mission to talk to people about love and their experiences and to write the quotes up verbatim.

      It’s always possible that we’ve missed the mark. I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts.

      Briana responded to my e-mail and I’ve asked her to post it. Here is part of it: ” Thank you for your email. It just really struck a chord with me that someone would go into a dive bar in the middle of the day and talk to three drunk men as if it held any kind of social value, other than to glorify alcoholism. Being a drunk underachiever may be the flavor of the month, but in my opinion (based solely on experience and education), alcoholism is a destructive disease that is rampant in our community (particularly The Mission). It destroys the people who suffer from it, and beyond that it ruins the lives of people who love them. To seek out alcoholics to find words of “hard-earned wisdom” on LOVE is a slap in the face to those who choose to actually feel their feelings of love instead of numb them with booze.”

      My response: Thank you for responding. I think you are right in terms of our lack of coverage of alcoholism. It’s something we’ve actually been talking about doing. One German visiting recently told me at dinner that he had spent time walking around the mission and felt there was an epidemic. It’s definitely the flip side of the bar scene here and it’s one we have been absent on. So, yes, we will be doing coverage of this.

      Best, Lydia

    2. i’ve been to dive bars and aa meetings. as far as wisdom/insight/knowledge on love goes, i can’t tell the difference. chill brianna;if you want to learn about love, don’t waste you time in either: read proust.

  4. Wait, I don’t get it. So did this guy Shawn realize he was in love or he didn’t want to share bedbugs with his dad?

    1. Good question, Brooke. Shawn went on to explain that as a result of his pants-wearing sleeping situation, and “hitting rock bottom,” Shawn was inspired to get a job and get his act together in an effort to win back his girlfriend. Some might say that’s romance, but either way, he seemed happy.