Sunday, November 19, 2006

San Francisco

We left the Bay Area this morning after having a lovely, if not rather rushed time. After more crappy weather, we arrived in Berkeley Thursday night and were able to have a decent Indian meal with my nephew John. The next day we started the day at the Bread Workshop with a damn fine pumkin muffin for me, cream cheese apricot danish for Tommy, and fruit-yogurt-granola and delightfully strong Uncommon Grounds coffee for both. After bumming around Berkeley for a bit, John and Mike, the guy he works for, joined us and we went to the Golden Gate Bridge & Fisherman’s Wharf to go to Musee Mechanique.

Now, I would give out government secrets at the slightest threat of foot pain and the morning hinted in that general direction. So a visit to Walgreens for Cars tattoo bandaids (it’s the little things that get you by) and socks (that threw my outfit off making me look REALLY touristy but I thought would prevent further pain.

I thought wrong. The socks, though thin, pushed my feet into a different “level” of my so-called comfy pleather Mary Janes. What I learned: Sorry PETA but pleather makes for an uncomfortable walking shoe because if your foot disagrees with it, your foot suffers and the shoe continues on. And yet, it was too late and I hobbled around the Golden Gate Bridge chanting in my head the mantra my friend Brooke (RIP) taught me decades ago when he sold me a pair of really great black patent cowboy boots (cut me a break, it was the 80’s!): “Beauty knows no pain. Beauty knows no pain. Beauty knows no pain.”

The cowboy boots back then and the Mary Janes now were in cahoots and by the time we left Musee Mechanique, my dogs were barking, if not howling, and I practically cried with thanks as I snapped at my companions, “I’m going to that Payless and see if I can get some shoes! I’ll meet you at the restaurant!”

What I didn’t think about is I had a cranky-getting-crankier Oliver strapped onto me and only about a quarter of a bottle of formula on me…and yet, the dogs barked.

Now, I have a big foot. BIG. As in a size 12. Payless Shoes can be a benefit for the disposably trendy shoes but not all stores have a selection catering to My People. Fortunately, the shoe gods cut me a break and even though this store only offered a row of options, a pair of black Basic spin-offs and $20 would buy me some time to enjoy the rest of the evening.

It’s important to note that I was enjoying myself prior to this. The Bridge was gorgeous as usual and Musee Mechanique is always a great place to take people who’ve never been, but every now and then, the pain got to me and I was a little snappy in turn making Tommy snappy but I think we apologized enough to each other, understood and forgave. Praise little baby Jesus.

What makes this rambling story even worse was the condition of Mike who was born with cerebral palsy. Here I was practically leveled by probably an inch square total of skin and then there’s Mike putzing around hill and dale with a smile on his face with John taking care of him with the same smile like the superior human he has become. (“If John doesn’t get into Heaven for doing what he’s doing, then that’s a god I don’t want ti be a part of.” – weird all the religious references in this entry and yet, not so much.)

But once I got the new pair of shoes while doing my best to tame sporadic O fussing, the skies parted and I too perked up. They threatened to cloud over when I went to pay for the shoes and the guy at the register said he had to take the sensor off the left shoe before I could walk out with them – “How in the hell was I going to put it back on with O now full-tilt cranked and a bottle now empty?” I worried but the clouds stayed clear if not stellar and the register guy came around on his invisible white horse and got on his knee putting the shoe back on like a modern Prince Charming.

This friendliness and going the extra step was felt all day, when on the subway or bus, MANY people offered to let me sit because of the baby and bus drivers quickly jumped up to help Mike and his chair onto the many buses we took.

Even though I was beat from walking so much, I felt good from what we saw and the company we kept. “We made a day trip in half a day” Mike typed on the computer lap-thing he uses to communicate. Amen to that!

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