I apologize in advance. This post has absolutely nothing to do with getting rid of "stuff" or sustainability or living simply. This is my blog though so I can write whatever I want, right?
Bright lights, big city. I love "the city". For those of you not on the west coast that is how we have always referred to San Francisco. There is a spot on I80 just before Berkeley where there is a huge apartment building on a hillside. I came here often as a child and each time I saw that building I thought that must be where people ended up when they became very successful. Now I look at it and wonder who would want to live right on the freeway; perspective changes everything, doesn't it? But when I was young I dreamed of living there. Those who knew me then predicted I'd end up in San Francisco or NYC. Who would have thought that I'd actually have a bunch of kids, love growing vegetables and raising chickens and wish I had a small dairy cow and a greenhouse?
So I get here and navigate to my hotel and get checked in. I'm on the third floor and there is an elevator but it is at the other end of the parking lot and the stairs are by where you park so why not? I come up three flights of steep stairs and walk in just as my daughter calls to say the ambulance is on the Bay Bridge. So I hustle back out and down the stairs with my trusty map to the hospital in hand.
As I get there I see an ambulance bay and the doors are open and I recognize her quilt. Good, she's here. The parking garage is full so I park instead in the adjacent professional building. There are parking attendants on every floor as I drive through the garage, not just one but two or three or four per floor, wearing orange vests and watching the vehicles. One is nice enough to explain how to get to the mezzanine level that leads to the hospital and tells me that they lock the building at 7pm. Glad I ran into him, I'd have never guessed that even though about a year ago a friend and I got locked out a similar garage in Oakland while we laughed and dined late into the evening.
This hospital is huge and there are lots of people in it. At home she has always had a private room with lots of space. I take my "mobile office" and set up and work while she rests and am always on hand to help her and talk with the doctors. Here the space is about 6'x8' and has a hospital bed, a closet, a bedside chest with a phone on it and the rolling tray table. I have to go find a chair and then wedge it in between her bed and the wall. On the other side of a curtain is another patient, a sick elderly woman who likes to listen to the news nonstop and really loud. We get settled in, go for a little walk while they do the admitting paperwork, she gets her blood drawn (from both arms!) and some medication and we wait. The doctor is supposed to be coming in. I am watching the clock. 5:30. 6:00. At 6:25 I wander back out into the hall as the nurse has said the doctor is on the floor and I'm anxious to hear what he has to say but need to leave pretty soon to navigate the maze back to my car.
In the hall I do not find a doctor. What I find instead is a clock on the wall that reads 6:53. Uh-oh. In a panic I turn to one of the nurses and ask if the clock is right and when she says that it is I hastily explain that I'm about to get locked out of the garage next door and I don't even know where next door is. So they assign a nurse's aid to me and he starts running, saying, "Follow me, I'll get you there on time." We're booking through the hospital, winding in and out of patients, hospital employees, gurneys, you name it. Down the elevator and into the next building where he points out the professional building elevator. I thank him and keep going, descend into the basement of the building and exit the elevator. It is deserted. There are no nice guys in orange vests and there aren't even any cars. I don't even see mine. I hustle around a corner and spot Wanda the Honda at the far end of the building. I get in and drive down the ramp just as they are pulling the accordion gate across the exit. They look annoyed as they take my money; $2 for every 20 minutes. It is San Francisco.
I only took a few wrong turns before I figured out which way back to the hotel. San Francisco is not a place for the faint hearted driver. Every other corner you turn has a delivery van double parked in the street on a hill, with their emergency flashers going which you can't see around and someone honking behind you. Hmmm, I notice a Safeway van that says "free delivery" on the side. I'd sure as hell like to have MY groceries delivered, I think. Pressing on I get back to the hotel and climb up the three flights of stairs. I put on pajamas and sit down to check email and write my blog. Whoops. The laptop is still in the car. Off I go, back down the stairs. Hmmm, I notice that the property next door has a really cool little secret courtyard with little twinkle lights on one entire wall and one of those outdoor heaters you see in restaurant patios. I love this city. Back up the stairs I turn on the laptop and decided I'll check to see if my daughter left me a message, figuring she would be wondering if I got to my car alright. As I sprinted off with the nurse's aid I yelled, "Goodnight sweetheart. See you in the morning," as we passed her door. Damn. Cell phone is not in my purse, must still be in my car. Yep, back down and up the three flights of stairs.
Egads. I'm tired. Huge storm due in the Sierras over the weekend. Wanda the Honda (Fit) is not designed for snow travel. I don't want to be reminded of why they call it Donner Pass. I could be here a while. I ordered a "Liberty Salad" from around the corner for delivery. The guy is really sorry that he forgot to bring me a fork. Grrrrrrrr. He is young and very very cute and San Francisco-y and actually asks, "You don't have one?" I reply, "Dude, I'm in a motel room." I'll eat it with my toothbrush or my fingers or McGiver a spoon out of the dressing container, it is pesto dressing and it smells great.
1. A green men's winter jacket
2. A pair of Skechers
3. More shotglasses, a pair from the turn of the century (sounds a lot older than 10 years, right?)
4. A graduation gown
5. A leather belt