A Quick Turn in San Fran

Photo by Kurt Bollacker

After starting the car and rolling slowly out of the parking lot atop Havasupai Canyon, I departed the terminus and drove along a 738 mile social continuum which temporarily ended in San Francisco.  Over two days, I transitioned from deep and pervasive silence, no cars and only a handful of native inhabitants in a remote locale to the colorful cacophony and social whirl of densely peopled San Francisco.  Which happily enabled me to spend a four day weekend enjoying a steady stream of people and activities I love and led me to resemble nothing so much as a bemused deer gazing deeply into distant headlights (see above).

Shortly after I arrived in the city on Thursday and settled in with my hosts Kurt and Rich, I felt compelled to compensate for my recent culinary deprivation by cooking a lavish dinner emphasizing fresh vegetables and fruit.  As I worked to plan the menu, I remembered that I'd stowed an uneaten avocado I'd purchased in Supai Village in my bags. which a donkey had fetched briskly to the top of the mesa, whereupon it continued its journey by car for two further days, returning finally to the West Coast from whence it likely came.  I figured it was the best travelled avocado in the world, and it deserved to be made into an extra special salad.  I sectioned some fresh Cara Cara oranges, piled on some of the storied avocado and then topped that with finely chopped shallots, ribbons of fresh mint and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.  It was absolutely delicious.  And that was only the appetizer!

Friday night, Rich and I went to a tiny classic San Francisco club called Bottom of the Hill where we were privileged to watch Bob Mould perform his seminal 1992 album "Copper Blue" from beginning to end.  Both of us are huge fans of the record, and it was truly exhilarating to see one of my biggest guitar heroes in action and hear an entire album that I love so well.

A fun but frenetic Saturday followed, beginning with an early trip down the hill to the marvelous Almeny Farmer's Market followed by an interesting brunch with a group of Bay area go getters and then a quick trip to the airport to deliver Tad so he could journey to Germany.  And all of that happened by lunchtime!  Later in the afternoon, I drove over to my dear friend Lady Bee's place with my overnight bag in hand.  The two of us hadn't had a chance to visit in any kind of meaningful way for a while, so we were going to have a slumber party and do some catching up.  LadyBee's good friend Marcia joined us for dinner and then the three of us got all gussied up and headed over to a swank party in the Presidio.  I was rarin' to go ever since I'd read the text of the invitation which stated among other pithy items: 

   Dress code: whacked/shiny/sexy/devotional/steamy/surprise/hyper-urban

This was going to be a full on Bay Area shindig and here I was sporting nothing but all-cotton pyro drab in my suitcase. Lady Bee came to the rescue and lent me a lovely organdy coat to spiff up my outfit.

I, of course, found a number of very pleasant folks to chat with at the party and by the time we gave each other the are-you-ready-to-go look it was past 2:30 in the morning and we were on the other side of town.  I burned some happy midnight oil that morning, alright.

I enjoyed a much appreciated leisurely Sunday morning sipping a cup of strong black tea with a cat on my lap, thumbing through Lady Bee's excellent library.  We organized ourselves by early afternoon to make a visit to the flea market, just on the tail end of the event when all the dealers would be starting to pack up and much more likely to bargain.  It was heaven wandering around a good flea market with someone who appreciates ephemera as much as I do.  And I found a nifty book published in 1963 answering all questions you have about Space.  "Will man go to the moon?" it asks boldly on the inside cover.  And a treasure trove of design ideas for the spaceship I'm happy to report.

Sunday evening a group of us got together to eat dumplings and cut up.  Everyone's Cantonese was a bit rusty, so we had to empirically determine the fillings of various and sundry containers of dumplings we had ordered.  They were all delicious, so it didn't really matter to me.  It was good to get in a visit with my brother-in-law Kurt and see the world's most adorable couple, Stella and Tory.  The only drawback of seeing so many  people I love is I having to say goodbye over and over again, and damn it, I hate that.

But on Monday morning, that's just what I did.  I headed out a little bit after breakfast, south toward the Big Sur area where I'd be visiting my pal Bruce.  I stopped in San Jose and had lunch with Bob Mackey who I'd run into at the WPA get together.  I had vowed to myself shortly afterward that it wasn't going to be nearly as long between meetings next time, and hell - I was driving right past Bob's office building on my way out of town.  It felt good to honor a commitment so swiftly and it didn't hurt a bit that we had a lovely Greek lunch made even better by the fact that I got to geek out again when we sat down next to two other nerds that Bob knew.  Spectrometers were one of the main topics of conversation this time.  Cool.

I meandered on down the coast, taking my time on the hauntingly beautiful stretch of highway that runs south to the redwoods along the coast.  Time to make my previous incidents of pampering on this trip seem wimpy in comparison.

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