despite the incredible tales of debauchery involving my coworkers i didn’t go to my employer’s holiday party on friday night. instead, as soon as i got out of work an hour early, i meandered to MUNI and took the light rail to the caltrain station. the caltrain and i are friendly acquaintances, having met only once over a year ago on a trip back to the city from palo alto. my recent train entry was a direct result of me pondering caltrain, and i wasn’t disappointed. well, nothing that interesting happened, but i enjoyed the forty-five minute trip south. i sat on the upper level, which only has single seats next to a slender walkway on either side of the car, and looked out the window. about halfway down the peninsula, a man sat directly behind me whose aroma was one molecule shy of poop. i almost moved, but the smell kept tricking me into complacency, like old “friends” episodes. i concentrated on something else: real friends.
ergazork, sindrei, waldo and druid were waiting for me at the station in palo alto. (yep, those are handles.) druid and i have known each other since i first logged into his MUCK in ‘92 or ‘93, neither of us can remember when exactly. we weren’t friends immediately, though; no, far from it. my friends proceeded to annoy the living hell out of him and his friends so that they did their best to avoid or ignore us outright for years. when druid and i finally got to know each other independently, we had a pretty good laugh about all that. he did anyway. and we got over it. ergazork and sindrei i met recently, at the same MUCK; when chad and i first moved to san francisco they drove up to see us and carted us around a lot when we were still deciding where to live. and waldo is a good friend of ergazork and sindrei, and druid’s acquaintance, but i met him for the first time on friday.
i should explain why palo alto, why friday: druid was interviewing for a position where waldo works, and he was only in town for the day. i hadn’t seen druid in years and decided to skip out on my holiday party to visit with everyone. chad wanted to join us but there was no time for him to get from the north bay all the way to the south bay before druid’s plane left. that much i regretted, since they have become friends too.
missing chad, the five of us went in search of food, first to an overcrowded italian restaurant in downtown palo alto, then to a less-crowded italian restaurant in … somewhere … down the road? i have no idea. i was having too much fun chatting with everyone to pay attention to where we were going. it was only a short drive away, and we had called ahead to make sure they could seat us immediately. we had a huge, wonderful dinner together, and then waldo suggested a café since i mentioned something about loving egg custard. (did i mention that? i do.) we walked from the restaurant to the café as druid used a mobile phone to change his flight reservation from that night to the next morning.
that stress out of the way, we enjoyed a leisurely custard and tiramisu while a swingy, jazzy quartet started up. we checked the caltrain schedule before heading to a neat little bookstore and doing one of my favorite things, ever: group browsing. i love wandering through bookstores with people i like, pointing things out, asking questions, diverging and converging again. after a too-short time in the bookstore, i had to catch a caltrain back to the city, so we said our goodbyes and off i went.
warmed by the evening spent with friends, and the excitement of navigating a trip into and out of unfamiliar territory, i slipped into a light catnap. my sleepy sight blurred the smear of streetlights as the train slowed and sped up near the various stops along the way. i didn’t remember to be anxious about the rest of the trip home until we neared the caltrain depot in the city.
hm. i have fifteen minutes to make it from the caltrain depot to the transbay terminal. on foot and on MUNI. if i miss this bus, i have to wait an hour and a half for the next one. hm. okay, doable, right? it’s not that far …
i jammed out of the depot and was delighted to find a MUNI light rail waiting across the street. in true kung-fu transit babe style, i leaped into the railcar and stood, waiting for it to lurch to life.
nothing. right. okay. so, we’re going … now! still nothing. okay, i’m going to be late, people, let’s go let’s go let’s go!
five minutes (or an eternity) later it started up and deposited me at the embarcadero with only five minutes to hustle several blocks. so i ran. o, was that not a good feeling. o, am i a little doughy ball of unhealthiness. i’m not even a smoker anymore and i couldn’t manage that run. gah.
i did make it in time, because the bus was late, and even though i felt quite pathetic about the overexertion of jogging it was so nice to be on the last leg of my journey. i called chad to ask him for a ride from the bus stop, and then nestled into the seat to watch some more of the world go by.
(which translated into a nap. i’m so predictable. if you get on a bus in san francisco and there is a disheveled, sulky-looking sleeping girl on it, chances are that’s me.)
i walked in the door at 00:30 saturday morning; the return trip had taken almost exactly three hours. i slept so well that night, and dreamed of running marathons.