yelled the yellow-shirted man on the bicycle as he rode by in the Mission area of San Francisco last Friday night. He was part of Critical Mass–a well known group of environmental protesters–who have decided in their infinite wisdom that jamming traffic with their bicycles one Friday night a month will actually advance their cause. I’m not sure how jamming traffic will lead to car drivers abandoning their ozone polluting vehicles, but hey, I suppose they’re justified on some strange green eco-friendly level.
And what in the world was I doing in San Francisco? Would you believe me if I said: celebrating my lottery winnings? Nope, neither would I. I flew up there last week Thursday to spend some time visiting friends and attending a wedding. One of my friends (Sheela) was getting married on Saturday so I took the occasion to see her, my neglected West Coast friends and have a bit of a breather from my normal life. I dropped down at San Francisco airport about noon, was picked up in a green Lexus by two of Sheela’s brothers and curried to their house where I was introduced to a host of relatives and given food. It was funny, I was so excited–bouncing up and down and they were all smiling at me. I’m sure they were wondering what in the world I was high on–oh well. They fed me and like a good little girl, I chowed down–only to find out that I was eating breakfast leftovers and that lunch would be coming soon! Good grief! They eat like we do–their breakfast would be the same as an American lunch. Sheela’s maternal grandmother had 13 children so you can just imagine how many people were in that house! Add to this that the wedding list included over 400 names and you’ve got one whale of a wedding! I briefly saw Sheela, talked with her for a bit and just enjoyed being around her.
About 2:30 I left with Hal–one of Sheela’s father’s coworkers–to Oakland. He was quite nice to come out just to drop me off! While we drove, he gave me a running commentary on SF. We got to West Oakland in one piece, I duly thanked him and waited for about 15 minutes for Loren to come home. It was wonderful to see Loren! He took me through his house and the upper level which he is renovating in readiness for renters. He’s doing big things! He’s affianced to Erica (whom I met later on that night), working on the Board of Directors for one of the divisions of Kaiser Permanente and preparing to finish his MBA in Italy! My goodness, is all I have to say. At some point Loren and I listened to “In the Closet” parts 1-3 by R. Kelly and if you are ever in need of enough laughter to cause tears, I highly recommend that song. There are no words for the endless moments of mirth that you can milk out of that song…
So, Loren and I took a driving tour of Oakland, stopping at points to admire the various landmarks. We went around a lake that is the largest natural land-locked lake in the US, I believe. The sky was rolling golds, reds and oranges; the wind was soft and I was absolutely bubbling! We snapped some dynamic pix (which I will hopefully be able to post once I receive them) and then went back to the crib, where Erica was waiting. She’s a slight African American woman with large eyes, long black hair and currently a graduate student at Stanford. She’s sweet, intelligent and a good match for Loren’s wit. Interestingly enough she offered me the front seat which definitely ranks her as someone of note!
We went through Berkeley in search of a good restaurant and ended up at a Thai place whose menu advertised “marinated deep fried young bird” and “yellow curried pests”. Uhm, yeah–okay. Needless to say, I didn’t order either one of those rather tantalizing treats, but I did get the spicy duck. The food was delicious. All this was accompanied by much merriment (what a word hunh?!). From the restaurant we ventured out again in Loren’s trusty carriage to see Berkeley at night. Avast matey! We hit up the Lawrence Science Tower from which one should be able to see Oakland spread before you, unless it’s a foggy night and all you see are distant lights–and guess what kind of night that was? So we played in the fog, discussed our post-mortality aspirations (I want to ride comets and she wants to walk on the edge of a black hole) while Loren ripped on us for our nerdity. Pfooey on him (he’s merely jealous)! The overlook has a replica of a whale and a large model of DNA (large enough for small children to climb on)………….