Heh. As I write this, I have a large card on the window sill that says “WANT MORE CHOCOLATE?” It was glued to the bottom of the inside of a large bag from Ghirardelli, the chocolate company that has a square near the San Francisco waterfront named after it. Both times I’m been in San Francisco, I’ve made sure to stop ’n’ shop there. I have a sweet tooth and I’m not afraid to use it!
Speaking of San Francisco, I had more memories and ponderings related to my trip there last month:
* Among the sites sighted in my San Franciscan peregrinations were the twisty part of Lombard Street (which I walked down on the north side sidewalk), an art display in Union Square, the Virgin Megastore (I went up to the second story, couldn’t find the Soundtrack section, went back downstairs, and finally saw the signs saying that the store has three stories), the Fisherman’s Wharf In-n-Out Burger, newspaper boxes where you could get free copies of The Onion (yay!), people using Segways and little motorized carts for sightseeing on the waterfront, a downtown alley lined with restaurants and being all nicely intimate, the cable cars getting turned around for their return trips down the lined (19th-century technology still works if it’s maintained), and at least two statue-men posing for tourists. Lots and lots and lots to look at in that town; thinking back on that, I’m still boggling a bit…
* Should I admit that I ate fast food? San Francisco is a great restaurant town, but one lunchtime I couldn’t resist ordering a cheeseburger and fries at that In-N-Out Burger. Maybe I should have resisted.
* Oh, and also seen by me while there, in a large hanger at Fisherman’s Wharf (and next to both a World War II ship and submarine), was the Musee Mechanique, displaying over a hundred year’s worth of mechanical displays and toys. And they still work! Some time after I got home, I was amused to see that someone I follow on LiveJournal, author Cherie Priest (cmpriest), had been in San Francisco (also for a wedding) and had arrived at the very same museum. Priest had been geekily impressed, as I’d been. She was even nice enough to make a video of a mechanical opium den…
* Does anyone look at San Francisco and get reminded of Seattle? Because at a few moments I really did think of the two towns being similar. (I also have a recurring locale in my dreams that is definitely a combination of San Francisco and Seattle, so maybe my subconscious is telling me something…)
* My last Monday there, my rash was finally bad enough that I asked my doctor uncle, Bill Weare, if he could look at it. He did, poking at my left arm briefly (in the hotel lobby while his family was preparing to leave) and said yep, it’s probably nothing too major than a rash. And Aunt Nancy, his own wife mind you, then told me “So if your arm falls off, you can sue him!”
(That blasted rash stayed at the same extent for days, by the way, but finally went away, limb intact. Yay for no more weird bumps!)
* I needed some relaxation time, of course, and I had a hotel room, usually to myself, where I could do that. One relaxing thing? Stretching out on my bed and watching The Waterboy on cable. Yes, that film is stupid to the point of being stoopid, but it makes me laugh. Kathy Bates doesn’t do enough comedies, I think, and she did this one with relish. And hey, Fairuza Balk makes me happy…
* Said by the operator of a cable car as it headed down a steep, steep hill: “I suppose this is as good a time as any to say that the brakes are made of wood…”
* I wonder this now: Probably someone builds replicas of the cable cars that are used in action films. Because lots of damage happens to cable cars in action films. Let’s see, the one wrecked in Hulk, that fight on one that then collides with the car in Eddie Murphy’s action film Metro, and the cable car that goes SHOOTING UP INTO THE AIR ON A CUSHION OF FLAMES in The Rock. And that’s just off the top of my head.
Maybe films like those should have a disclaimer that “no cable cars were harmed in the making of this film.”
* As the largest city I’ve ever lived in remains Portland, Oregon, which is on the small side as cities go, I kept noticing how much more a major city like San Francisco can be. It seemed, for instance, like emergency vehicle sirens were louder than they are in Portland. And we had plenty of sirens, especially at night. Mom and Dad’s hotel room was beset by siren noise; Mom started to wonder if the city’s emergency workers were doing test runs at night (“That’s the only time they can practice driving fast!”). Luckily, my cousin Steph stayed one room over, with her husband Paul and their one-year-old daughter Eloisa, and for them the sirens were much quieter. Good for keeping a one-year-old asleep when she needed to be.
* Places I didn’t get to: Haight-Ashbury, Golden Gate Park, the Presidio (now the home of Industrial Light and Magic), any part of the Mission District other than Pauline’s Pizza (the gourmet pizza place where we ate Friday night), onto the Golden Gate Bridge (but I did sail under it, plus I drove north across the bridge back in 1995) and ______ (fill in the blank with some amazing place in San Francisco you’d’ve suggested I go to). I suck. But I have cousins living there, so I have a good excuse to visit again!
* And finally, adventures in lotion: Remember my rash? Sure. Did you know I also got really badly sunburned? ’Cause I did. What’s good for rashes and burns? Lotion. What can’t be brought into airports now? Too much lotion. So though I’d bought some nice and needed lotion one night that weekend, there were too many ounces of lotion in that little container to bring into the airport, so before leaving the hotel Monday afternoon I used what I could and left the tube behind. I couldn’t bring myself to throw it out. Maybe a maid or the next tenant could use it.
Anyway, I was bereft of lotion when I got stranded in San Francisco International Airport that night. But then I remembered: someone had called into The Rick Emerson Show to say that while you couldn’t bring lotion through airport security, you could buy lotion once you were in the airport. I figure that’s lotion that airport security can be sure isn’t explode-y stuff, I guess.
What was on the racks at the travel-goods shop? No lotion.
There were copies of Stephen King’s sort-of-Bachman book Blaze on the book racks, though, so I could take some comfort in that. But I can’t nourish and heal my skin with Stephen King’s words. So I asked the woman behind the counter: is there actually lotion here and I’m just not seeing it? She walked over to the rack of various small stuff (lip balms, travel-size painkillers, those kinds of things), saw what I saw (i.e., nothing skin lotion-y), and then opened a well-disguised door in the wall. Invisible closet! That’s where she found a tube of Triple Lanolin Mango Vera Hand and Body Lotion. (I can be that exact in naming it because I’m still using it.) And I knew soothing liquid relief (or at least some relief) would soon be mine. I bought it and a copy of Blaze, and did so with relief. Thank you, cash register woman!
I must’ve been a sore sight for eyes that night: hunkered down reading books while waiting SEVERAL EXTRA HOURS for my flight, then trying to relax in my seat in the very last row at the back of the plane, and then tearing up when some of that saving lotion, um, made it into my eyes, which don’t need lotion, thank you very much. I strongly thanked the flight attendant who spirited me a handful of tissues so I could, um, handle my leak.
And then I had a full day to recover before returning to work. Another week would’ve been nice, but I took what I could, recovery-wise…