In late January, Jonathan and I went to San Francisco to hang out with his friend Tristan, and to go to wOOtstock*. (You can relive the drive down there with us here.)
Saturday morning I woke up around 8, despite not going to sleep until nearly 1. It’s hard for me to sleep in nowadays, unless I’m up reeaaallly late. Once the snoring beast I married woke up, we got ready and I consulted my magic box to figure out where to get some good breakfast. I had recently bought a brand of flavored coffee that smelled and tasted like french toast, so I was dead set on getting some of the real stuff. A couple clicks on my fancy-pants tablet, and I had found a little hole-in-the-wall place called The Doctor’s Lounge**; it’s a bar at night, and a brunch and cartoons place Saturday and Sunday morning. It was within walking distance, so we meandered the four blocks there, enjoying the wonderful warm weather and talking about what we wanted to do that day.
We walk in, and in the back of the restaurant I spotted an old style telephone room; a tiny room with a phone and a soundproof door, with the obligatory TELEPHONE sign over the doorjamb. The nerd that I am hoped they’d have SOMETHING Doctor Who related, which I mentioned to the owner as we sat down and he began making us two cups of incredibly strong drip coffee.
“To be honest, we thought about painting it blue and putting a police box sign on it. Instead it’s our “original smell” room. When we got the place, it was wall to wall carpet – even the walls were carpet! When we remodeled, we got rid of all the carpet, except for in there. It’s got a pretty funky smell to it. Not bad, just different! Like cigar smoke and age. Pretty cool, really, like a time capsule. “
We ordered our breakfast and I got my french toast. It was really good french toast. I don’t know what kind of bread or spices the cook uses, but it was definitely the best freaking french toast I’ve had in a long time. I fancy myself a decent iPhone-photographer, so I took an artsy picture of my coffee.
After stuffing ourselves with delicious food, we waddled back to Tristan’s apartment. He was ready to go, so we piled into the Volvo and navigated through the city to the Exploratorium. We got a little lost†, and ended up taking a bit of a scenic route down a very steep hill through a very expensive part of the city. The houses were gorgeous; gingerbread and pastel colors, and a view to die for.
Eventually we arrived at the Exploratorium, and spent most of the afternoon playing with science-y things, goofing around, and generally acting like 12-year-olds. It was awesome. I had an especially fun time playing with the high-speed water drip camera, trying to catch the droplet in midair. Jonathan tried to make it look like a…uh…well, it’s not important. We also encountered some lonely assassins, but thankfully there were enough people there looking at them that they stayed quantum-locked††. What they do at night, I have no idea.
Around 2 o’clock, we started getting hungry, so we set off walking in search of sustenance. We first tried a place several blocks from the Palace of Fine arts, but it was horribly snobby and pretentious and I wanted nothing to do with it. They also wanted to charge $24 for a burger so we said “yeah right” and scooted right out of there. On our walk back to the car, I encountered a mini-TARDIS. Of course I took a picture. And of course I tweeted about it.
We got back in the car and set off in search of a reasonably-priced joint to find food. We were optimistic, happy, having fun chatting and checking out the streets around us.
At least, we were for the first hour.
If you’re used to living in a suburban or rural area like we are, where you can drive 5 miles in about the same amount of minutes, it’s quite unpleasant to drive 5 miles and have it take over an hour.
It’s also quite unpleasant when you realize too late that you’re about to drive up Russian Hill via Lombard St (between Polk and Larkin) and the road is WET because of some construction on the sidewalk. It’s EXTREMELY UNPLEASANT when you are driving up said hill in stop and go traffic and your tires are not getting any traction because of said water and you’re freaking out because you’re most certainly about to slide down the ridiculously steep hill and hit the guy in the Subaru behind you.
I’m pretty sure the “oh crap” handle in the rear passenger seat has permanent indentations from me gripping it so tightly. I think that was my first panic attack ever. I was seriously freaking out, so as soon as we got to the top of the hill we made a right and kept looking for somewhere to eat.
We drove for another 20-30 minutes, spent another 20 minutes looking for a parking spot, then decided to just hoof it and find some stinking food. First place we tried was a bar that didn’t serve food of any kind. Next place was a shady Chinese place that I was certain made drugs in the back room. Third place didn’t open for another 15 minutes, and was overpriced. So we kept walking.
We lost Tristan at this point. He really had to go to the bathroom, so he took off in some unknown direction and told us to call him when we found some grub. Three blocks and several creepy bums later, Jonathan and I landed in a sandwich place. I was grumpy and achy and unpleasant, and he was no better. We called Tristan to discover he had found a bathroom and settled in at an Irish pub a couple blocks away, and told us to head over after we had eaten. I ordered some form of meat and cheese on bread, and scarfed away; food is food at this point, even when it decides to shred the inside of your mouth‡.
Also, cucumber water is weird. Who thinks of this stuff?!
We finish eating and drag ourselves back outside. Tristan tells us where the pub is, and we set off. It’s not too far away, and in the same direction as our car, which by this time probably has a parking ticket since it took so stinking long to find food. After we collect T, we head back to the car and drive home. It’s pretty quiet, because for all the fun of the morning, the afternoon was a total downer.
After we get back to the apartment, the guys start playing Scrabble and I settle down with a book for a while. I overhear their conversation while they’re playing and decide to join the next game. Playing “Words with Friends” with Anne, Jeff, and my Mom hasn’t really improved my Scrabble skills, but I still end up beating them both with ease.
This improves my mood significantly.
I’m going to stop here and save the second half for another post, since this one is getting exceptionally long.
* If you’re a regular follower you may remember this rather hilarious post about me. It may or may not be entirely true.
** It makes me furiously happy that the title of the website is done in TARDIS blue.
† My fault, I admit. I’m terrible at navigation.
†† NERD ALERT!!!
‡ Note to self: Dutch Crunch is evil.