Wednesday, August 13, 2008
A good day
Am I on vacation or working from home? My last couple weeks at work left little time to think about how I REALLY was going to spend the first three days of the two weeks 4-year-old Benny's preschool is closed.
So I wasted Tuesday waiting for (nonexistent) return telephone calls. And Wednesday looked like it was toast, with one story needing an update and another story started from scratch two hours before deadline. Meanwhile, Benny's running up to me every five minutes wailing, 'When is somebody going to play with me?'
(For the record, I spent every Tuesday and Wednesday morning moment not dedicated to my paying job to playing with him.)
So when I finished the story, looked outside and saw the curtain of daily fog lifting to expose a beautifully sunny, blue sky, I threw the kid in some clothes, brushed his teeth and headed out the door. 'Let's make something of this day!' I grumbled.
Within minutes we were on a 6 bus headed downtown, through the Haight, the edge of the Tenderloin, down Market and stepping off at the foot of Powell Street, where the tourists wait ... and wait ... and wait for a ride on a cable car.
Benny and I walked up Powell into Union Square, to my favorite all-beef hot dog cart, where for $11 we got two dogs and two canned lemonades. We sat under a tree in Union Square and watched the world go by, while behind us a country-soul-blues-whatever-else-ya-want band played far enough behind us to enjoy.
We then walked into Chinatown, through the Chinatown Gate. This was the best part of all. Benny had never been to Chinatown, so every sight, smell and sound was new to him. It was a little bit of a walk, but not bad -- especially since I easily found our destination: the fortune cookie factory on a tiny alley between Washington and Jackson. Inside a narrow building with a retail floor (I'm being generous) about five-feet-by-five-feet, we saw how fortune cookies are made. One of the women slipping messages inside the cookies and folding them into their familiar design handed a couple of warm, unfolded cookies to Benny and me, and then we slipped out with a large bag of regular and chocolate fortune cookies for $4.50.
We popped out of the alley onto Jackson and walked toward the Financial District, taking in the Transamerica Pyramid, the Redwood grove, a fire station ... anything ... until we settled in at Baskin Robbins, where I told Benny his morning patience would be rewarded. He was in heaven.
We finished and moved on to work -- to see Christine. Benny and I rode the elevator to the ninth floor, where he sneaked into the deadline-day newsroom and handed Christine a fortune cookie. Benny and I then went to a 15th-floor rooftop garden a block away and nibbled on fortune cookies, bought some apple juice and jumped on the California Street (and drastically less crowded) cable car. We rode it to the end of the line, jumped on the 49 bus down Van Ness to Market Street, waited five minutes and caught the 6 bus home.
It's not how you start the day, I told Benny, it's what you make of it.