The pros and cons of our first 24 hours in lovely San Francisco.
+ Pretzels and water served on flight from LAX, while I sit next to a delightful teenager who does that cute head-bobbing-on-the-brink-of-sleep thing. I resist all temptation to guide his head onto my shoulder, stroke his hair and tell my mum’s famous “…And all the little lambs are in their barn. And all the little spiders are in their webs. And all the little snails are in their shells” bedtime story. Realise husband may be affronted.
– Stand at luggage carousel for about 40 minutes, hoping and praying for our bags to turn up. Bags never come, so we lodge a delayed baggage report and are told they’re probably just on the next flight in. Little do we know the grinch is about to steal Christmas.
+ Get a shuttle bus to our hotel. The driver is a kindly man, who has decorated his van like a portable Buddhist temple. Am instantly calmed, converted and we take a copy of a free book he offers called “Heart of a Buddha”.
– Enter hotel room, which will be our home for the next five days, to find it has a distinct hourly rate feel to it, if you know what I’m sayin’.
+ Realise we are close to Japantown, where we discover an amazing shop selling all things awesome Japan. Things include a children’s book I wish I had written entitled: ‘Everyone poops’. We eat from bento boxes and walk back to our hotel amongst the Christmas lights and drizzle.
– I awake the next morning in despair, realising everything I have ever loved is in my bag. Things include black and white photos of Bulgarian strangers we bought at a flea market in Sofia, beautiful Christmas decorations we’ve collected from each country we’ve visited, my remarrying dress and the junior version of my beloved blankie.
+ We find out our insurance policy is reasonably sweet and can go and buy ourselves some replacement things. On the way into the city, we find a great coffee place that sells all kinds of crazy blends. We think we’ve found a San Francisco gem and feel it’s a sign of things to come.
– Things do come – rather too quickly – and I spend about half an hour in the bathrooms at Westfield cursing strong jumbo coffees with cream.
+ I find myself three pairs of underpants and four pairs of socks, which is luxury after wearing mostly hand-washed underwear for six months.
– I feel guilty and hopeless for spending money I had saved for Christmas on emergency underwear and walk home alone through the Tenderloin district, while J-man goes in search of emergency fashion.
+ Married to Rock and 16 and Pregnant are on the telly when I get back to the sex hotel. Such reality programs make me feel smug and superior. I know how to defy nature!
– Realise that babystoppers are also in my missing luggage. Prepare to re-marry Joel again in his drag racing gear and move into a barn set up in my parents’ backyard with baby Jeph and Soel.
+ Go and see Black Swan, starring Natalie Portman in a grand old theatre.
– Get to thinking that maybe I am too much like her crazy-insane-insane-crazy character, complete with nervous breakdowns, way out sensitivity and awkward make-out sessions where the kiss-ee yells “ow, you bit me! Why did you bite me?”
+ Eat dinner in a 50s style diner, where juke boxes are on every table. Amongst other things, I choose Bing Crosby’s ‘I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas’. San Francisco makes everything okay.