you: so, like, what did you do this weekend?
me: uhhmmm, not much really. did some walking around, some shopping, had some great meals and treats, took some pictures.
you: really? where'd you go?
me: oh, san francisco
don't ask me why i do these things. well, since this whole post is based on an imaginary conversation, i suppose you could ask me why i do these things. and i actually wouldn't say "i don't know" because i know why. i went to san francisco on saturday and came back on sunday because i didn't have any plans this weekend. and being that i live the professor's two-day work-week life, i'm often left with enough down time to permanently ground anything in a "goes up, comes down" scenario. i get a little stir crazy at times. so on friday night i hatched a plan to hop in the prius and cruise up to the bay for a night.
the drive up, which began around the asscrack of dawn, was brutal. it was fast (just a hair past 5 hours total with one gas stop), but ugly. ugly in every sense of the word; i took the i-5, and man, is that road ugly. and smelly. and boring. and tedious. and scary--i can't take those forceful winds and enormous ascent and descent combos. i'm not a chicken driver, or a bad driver, or even a reluctant driver, but i'm not an anything goes kind of driver. i don't like to drive as much as some people, and i'm particular about my conditions. no matter how much billy joel i bellowed along to, i still gripped the wheel like a panicky old lady and let fly a slew of religious-themed epithets and invocations.
i pulled into the city just after eleven in the morning (after scornfully paying $4 to cross the death trap known as the bay bridge) and made my way to my hotel. i soon discovered that having a car in san francisco is like having a quilted down-filled ski parka in tahiti. absolutely friggin' useless. nowhere to put it, a nightmare to drive it (those hills, oy vey!), a fortune to get it parked (i won't admit what those bastards at the hotel charged for parking). one of the first things i did was get a muni passport. i mean, let's be real, people.
as luck would have it, my very own will truman was also in town, although he was flying out that night. we met up for a stroll in the castro, some scandalously good dessert, and plenty of roaming in the aisles of some great bookstores. after we said goodbye (and i got saddled with his two shopping bags of thrift store clothes to drive home for him) i made these elaborate plans for what i was going to do that night: get up to north beach to check out some cafes, seafood dinner in nob hill, and a possible drink up at top of the mark. i meticulously planned out my muni trips, then headed out. and waited for a #45 bus for so long that i gave up in frustration and went back to the hotel to get my car.
bad move. once i got in the car i experienced all the abovementioned perils of driving in san francisco. after circling around for over a half and hour in the environs of where i wanted to get dinner (skipped the cafes in north beach--like that was going to happen!) i drove back to the hotel and returned the car to the valet dudes. enough of that bullshit. it was almost nine o'clock, and i was starving... i'd been initially thinking sushi, and apparently the sushi restaurant inside my hotel is one of the best in the city. and they aren't open on saturdays. the nerve! but seriously, who does that? it's absurd. so i tapped around yelp and chowhound and decided to venture into union square into this teeny-tiny sushi place called akiko's. it was nice--not spectacular (i'm spoiled living here in los angeles with our endless fantastic sushi) and hit the spot. and that was my night.
this morning i got up super duper early to beat the lines at my favorite breakfast place--not only in sf, but quite possibly anywhere--dottie's true blue, and snagged an open solo seat at the counter. it was bay to breakers morning, so after my delightful stroll through the tenderloin (mmm, the smells are...tantalizing? no.) i regrouped at the hotel, then took an n train to the ferry building (instead of the streetcar--ugh, bay to breakers weekend! plus 2 proms in my hotel, double ugh). it was too early (and i was too full thanks to dottie's) for oysters, but i did some purchasing of delicious things, which i never get to do when i fly (too heavy, too precarious, too likely to spoil, etc.) and thus (along with saturday's larder) took advantage of the only good reason to drive to san francisco: the amount of shit you can haul home is as expansive as your car's capacity. soon said car was loaded up and i was on the road; this time i wound my way down via the 101 (with a brief interlude on the 154, thanks to my nav system's suggestion) and made it home in (gulp!) just under nine hours (with a few stops along the way...palo alto, pismo beach, and i can't remember where else). my cowgirl creamery humbolt fog cheese, persian lime olive oil, jams and preserves from fog hollow, baked goodies from dottie's, used books from aardvark, and one pilfered hotel washcloth made it home safe and sound. i zoomed across the valley floor as the sun was setting, warbling along to some good old sarah mclachlan (road trips is when i bust out the "desert island disc" picks in my library, like counting crows' "august and everything after" and old school faves like sarah, 10000 maniacs, and mr. joel).
so, to borrow a quote from me following a different major road trip in 1995, "i haven't showered since texas," and i'm wiped. it's a school night, so i'd best be packing it in. it was quite the weekend, wouldn't you say? oh, it's okay to answer. remember, we're having a hypothetical conversation here.