Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The City by the Bay

From where I live, San Francisco is a little more than just a stone's throw away. Growing up it was THE place to go for day trips. My mother would pile my brother and I in the car, crank up the soundtrack to Top Gun (or The Talking Heads or Billy Joel's Greatest Hits), and tell us that we were going on a 'secret journey'. Only one time did this 'secret journey' turn out to be Disneyland, every other time it was San Francisco. Every time that she tried to pull this past us we knew where we were going by the time we reached the 120 in Manteca. We didn't mind though, both my brother and I loved going to San Francisco. We loved it so much that we both moved there at the end of 2003 and became roommates. I only stayed a year. My brother is still there five years later. I look for every opportunity to go back. My favorite way to get there is to drive halfway and take BART in the rest of the way. I park my car at the Dublin/Pleasanton station and for less than $12 can get to Union Square and back. Toll for the Bay Bridge is $4 right now and seems to go up every year (in the last five years it has gone up $2). That, added to the gas to get there and then have to worry about parking, BART is a godsend. I hadn't been back in a few month's (since I met my bestie and his boyfriend in the city for the tranny pageant, that could be an entirely different post) so when my long lost friend said that she was going to be in San Francisco (by way of Portland, Oregon) I seized the opportunity to make the trip.

When I was 19 I packed up and moved to the OC to bunk with my distant aunt and cousins that I had only really seen at Thanksgiving. I love them all dearly but it was an adjustment that I never really made. I only lasted a year there as well. While I was down there I attended Fullerton College and threw myself into the theater program. At the time they had one of the best programs in the state at a community college level. The year before I got there, three of their students got accepted into Julliard. Fullerton really did have some tremendous talent and I loved every minute of it. During the winter break, the college hosted a Playwright's Festival. It was more of an intensive playwright's workshop. I signed up for it because I could earn three college credits for 10 days of my time. I participated in readings as an actor but my favorite part was contributing as a dramaturge. Dramaturge was a fancy way of saying that I was the one that held the catch-all job. I made the notes for the playwright, I read lines when needed and I called lines for the actors if they got lost. The playwright had done an adaptation of Moliere's Imaginary Invalid. It was during this particular workshop that I met my long lost friend. By the end of the of the festival we were best friends. I was only down there for another six months after that. When I moved back home we exchanged a couple of letters and a phone call and that was it. We completely lost touch. We found each other again through Facebook and decided to meet for dinner. I hadn't seen her in 11 years. By the time we sat down to eat it was if no time had past.

We had dinner at Millennium on Geary (in the Hotel California, yes that really was the name). It was a vegetarian restaurant. I was a little hesitant because the only other time I had eaten at a vegetarian restaurant it wasn't very good. I have to say, Millennium was exceptional. I had the lobster mushroom risotto. The 'lobster mushroom' is not seafood. It is the name of a coastal mushroom that has a slight seafood taste to it. It was sublime. As good as the meal was it couldn't compare with the dessert. We shared the Mocha Midnight (or something like that) and a sorbet pallet of chocolate, strawberry and root beer. Wowzers! The evening was lubricated by the free champagne the bartender sent over. I didn't know that places did that anymore. I felt like I was in a movie.

It is nights like this that reaffirm my love and devotion to the city by the bay.

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