Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Cali Report

My lady (LSD) and I are back from our Cali trip where I accompanied her to a wedding and saw and fell in love with San Francisco for the first time. And I'm going to give you, my beloved seven readers, a full report. Now, don't worry - it won't be like a boring slide show. Anyone who knows me will tell you that I typically, although not always, succeed in making my stories funny, which is the mark of a good blogger. I just don't don't update enough to be really good anymore, which is what great bloggers do. However, I intend to do a decent job at this, so let me know how I did.

The beauty of doing things like this is that you get all the details down on "the page" to look at years later. Every once in a while when I leaf through some old entries, I will have completely forgotten about funny little moments, and I'm grateful that I have this rag for that reason.

We got into Oakland and the way I met LSD's parents was her father picking us up from the bus station. I liked him right away. He has a mustache, so he kind of looks like a cop but the good cop in the movie that you trust, not the crooked one. He also has a terrific sense of humor, like his daughter. Then we sat down to a dinner at their place, and I met mom, who I liked just as much as dad. I have been nervous in the past about meeting girlfriends' parents, but it's a helluva lot easier when I'm completely in love and 100% sure she's the right one for me.

We got a nice early start to this day, but then we set ourselves back by royally screwing up the eggs we cooked and having to clean up the orange juice that I managed to spill inside of seemingly every kitchen cabinet, somehow. We then drove into San Francisco to check into the hotel before driving off to wine country.

The best thing about wine tastings is not the crappola lectures about grapes and shit, but more so I like getting to know these people and having some laughs, as many of them, you'll find, have terrific personalities. One small winery is owned and operated by a middle aged couple who look like the types who could also run "dopery" because they were just really laid back good folks, and the guy, while he was bright and witty, was a little deliberate in the way he carefully put his thoughts together into phrases. Somehow I sang a line from some random song, as I tend to do that sort of thing, and he told us how the two of them were just dancing to that song for their anniversary the night prior. They talked about it being an occasion ripe with wine flowing, dancing, and merriment. When I asked where they spent such an evening, they said that it was right where we were standing. Alone together in their very own winery, drinking their own blends, dancing to the sounds of their iPod.

After sobering up, we drove to Muir Woods because Dr. Ken had his heart set on seeing him some redwood trees. It was a long path through the woods, and we wanted to beat the traffic, so we decided to go back to the car to fetch our running gear to jog through it. This was a bad idea because there were wicked hills, giant red wood roots sticking out of the ground, the sun was beating down on us, and we got a little lost. One German guy with a giant back pack asked us if we knew where we were going, and I'll never forget the look of despair on his face when we told him we also had no idea where we were going.

But, we made it out of there alive to enjoy a great Italian meal in the North Beach area of San Francisco. We were going to hit some bars afterwards, but we were both tired from the Redwood adventure, so we returned to the hotel for some alone time. Why is it that "getting to know each other" in nice hotels is so damn awesome? We need to travel more because that's just a great deal of fun.

We knew that we had a rehearsal dinner in the late afternoon, so we packed in as much touristy stuff as we possibly could beforehand: cable cars, Bailey's and coffee at a bar called Buena Vista that invented the drink, some clam chowder, and Alcatraz. Overall, my impression of this city is that I've never been to a major city before that looks and feels so cozy and comfortable to me. All the buildings look like one of a kind, and there are so few Starbucks and Wallgreens on all the corners. You feel like you're living in a movie when you walk around that town, and it could be set now or twenty or thirty years ago.
The thing that I learned at Buena Vista is that they have plaques dedicated not to athletes who have nothing to do with anything, like say, Joe Montana, but to patrons who came to the bar every day for thirty years. The bartender told me this when I asked of the significance of a plaque on the wall that said a guy's name, a dry gin martini, and a range of years. That's what he drank and the years he did so, and it was hanging behind the bar on the corner in which he sat, along with the cane he would rest on the bar after ordering his martini before heading home, which he did every day up until he died at over 80 years of age. Another fellow who sat at the other end of the bar at a different time of day had just passed as well, and the bartender was in talks with the family to get his hat to put above a plaque over on his end of the bar. I don't know why, but I really liked that these guys were being honored in this way. Perhaps this appears as a random detail when you're talking about a trip like this, but not to me.

Just after waking up, I met the brother and his girlfriend, who are both great people. LSD had to do wedding stuff all day, so I spent the day with the family I had just met, which sounds strange but was totally fine. I went to the mall with the brother and girlfriend and watched the Giants game on TV with the dad, who rarely misses a game.

The reception was outdoors on a golf course with mountains behind it, which was beautiful, but it was just about the hottest day of the year. While it was a wonderful ceremony, getting to the indoor air conditioned reception and open bar was tremendous. LSD and I danced a few songs, had some shots cooled through a fire engine ice sculpture, and they had paid dudes out back to hand roll fresh cigars. I only smoke one or two cigars a year, but I really do like how it makes me feel more sophisticated and wealthy than I really am, if even just for a moment.

Around last call, I let LSD know that entering into what will soon be a long distance relationship, no longer scared me. It's just what we have to do, and we're going to do it right. I also told her that San Francisco will always be the city where we fell even deeper in love. I was thinking maybe we name a girl Bay some day, but maybe that's getting ahead of ourselves a touch. In the midst of this heartfelt discussion, one of the drunken groomsman came over to us to incoherently tell us some drunken philosophy. We politely told him that we were kind of having a moment, but that didn't really get rid of him. He was a lot like, and I hate to reference this show, but Joey from Friends: kind of stupid but lovable. So, we just had to laugh and not worry much about it because he kind of enhanced the moment in his own way, actually.

Sunday: Because this is getting long and nothing much happened on this day, I'll just take this time to say thanks for reading if you made it this far, and I hope you've enjoyed it.

Good night, seven readers. And goodbye San Fran. You'll see me again some day. Count on it.


BeckEye said...

Sounds like a great time! And glad to hear things are going so swimmingly with you and LSD. But please don't name any of your children Bay. Only a celebrity could get away with that. :)

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater said...

Beck: You don't like Bay? I guess I was love drunk when I thought of it. Bay Noisewater . . . She sounds very important. To me.

Gorilla Bananas said...

Ah, Dr Ken, memories are made of this.
Here's the song from the old crooner himself. I think you should name your daughter Francesca and call her Fran.

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater said...

GB: I love Francesca, but I think Fran sounds like a crabby old secretary with a bee hive hairdo.

BeckEye said...

I thought of Francesca too. What about Cali? (Alt spelling Callie.) I've actually heard that as a name.

BeckEye said...

Alternatively, you could hope for a boy and name him Tony Bennett.

Andrew said...

I'm glad you enjoyed it so much, Big Homey. And that you don't feel as freaked out about the long distance thing.

JerseySjov said...

Bay would be a cute name. for starters it's an actual word, spelled correctly. it's different enough that she'd definitely be the only Bay in school, but plain enough that everyone can pronounce it on the first try.

i love the story about the plaques commemorating regulars at the bar. it shows theyre interested in the real history of the place, not just what celebrity/athlete once stopped by

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater said...

Beck: I like Cali okay, but it's kind of got a stripper vibe. Tony Bennett has the right message because of the one song, but I'm not a big enough fan of his on the whole. You know, I'm more of a rock and roller.

: )

Andrew: Not the least bit freaked out. It's just the way it's going down. Boom.

Jov: You're right that it's not an everyday name, but it's totally pronounceable. I always think of Willow Bay from Inside Stuff, but that was her last name. She was fine . . .

Anyway, I'm glad you liked that story about Buena Vista. Actually, the guy in the pic is the real bartender. He's easy to find on google images because it's a famous place and he's always in there. I like the white coats . . .

Candy's daily Dandy said...

I love San Fran too!

SO glad to hear that LSD's a keeper! I think I've been around long enough to remember a few posers along the way.

Radioactive Tori said...

SO happy for you!!!! She sounds wonderful and it's so nice to hear that things are going so well for you! I actually feel a little weird about just how happy it makes me that you are both so happy but I guess knowing where we both were about a year ago in similar (but different) situations, it just makes me feel hopeful for me and so happy to know how happy you are!

Radioactive Tori said...

I think I need a thesaurus because I used the word happy way too many times!

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater said...

Candy: Thanks. There have been lots of ladies discussed on this rag over the years. This one is a "keeper" for sure. : )

Radio: That was a great deal of happy. That must mean you're happy. I'm happy too. : )