I jumped into a taxi on Christmas around 6 PM. I was off to see Monica, we had plans to get Chinese food and then just hang out. I told the cabbie I need to go to Bush at Hyde. He zoomed off, speeding through San Francisco, weaving in and out of the lanes of traffic. “Now I know how Princess Diana must have felt before she died,” I told the driver.
He laughed, “We won’t be going through any tunnels.”
Upon arriving in front of Monica’s building, I tipped the driver generously. He had gotten me there in one piece and in remarkable time, plus it was Christmas. Not being one who likes Christmas, it was still nice to see that Monica’s building was decorated with all the trimmings. After she buzzed me up and we exchanged little gifts, we were off to Polk Street.
We made it to Bamboo during the dinner rush, but were seated promptly. We kvelled over our service and food, not so much because it was great but because it was just what we wanted—very “A Christmas Story” sans the “fa-ra-ra-ra-ra’s”.
After dinner, not much was open but bars. We walked down Polk to Ghirardelli Square. Monica bought some tampons for a ridiculous price, $8 for 10 and I bought a pack of Vanilla Mint gum for $1.25. Ah, tourist traps and their prices. This woman walked into the store and knocked over a pair of sunglasses.
“You knocked those over,” she said to Monica. Monica looked at her and said surprisingly, “I did?”
“Yeah, I’ve been standing over here,” she lied as she had just walked past the sunglass rack.
“Oh, well that doesn’t mean you couldn’t pick them up” Monica began in a motherly tone which turned sarcastic “but that’s OK.”
We proceeded to make fun of her for a couple of blocks. Oh we’re going to hell.
We walked to Pier 39, got some hot beverages and treats from Blue Chip cookies and found a place to sit and talk the night away. We stared out in to the bay, at boats with festive lights, one of which had made a Christmas tree design using its masts, complete with a star at the top. When we were finally ready to go home we walked over to catch a cable car. A homeless man tried to get us to donate money in order to help find a missing girl. He showed us a flier he had picked up. I had to give him credit for his creativity, but he wasn’t getting any of my coin. He jumped on the cable car with us, all of us getting to ride for free. The cable car operators were the best I had ever been around, they weren’t rude! Everyone wished us a Merry Christmas as we jumped off on Taylor and walked toward Grace Cathedral. The neighborhood was quiet and enchanting. Soon enough we were back where we started, at Monica’s. I bid her good night and headed back to the Lower Haight.