I think someone at sometime compared San Francisco to OZ, and if they didn't, they should have, for wonder and magic abound in the city when one drops unabashedly into its foggy mist. Our adventure began with a long walk for 10 blocks on the red brick sidewalks of Market Street from Hotel Whitcomb on 8th to Books Inc in the Castro. I had a reading scheduled there for my book Between Two Women with my friend Kate, whose book For the May Queen was published at the same time as mine.
Our audience was small but truly special--some old family friends as well as friends from GoodReads. The event staff at Books Inc took our pictures and gave us gifts for being a part of their reading program. Then 5 of us went across the street to a little pub for drinks. We stayed and talked for a very, very long time and at nearly midnight Cindy and I began our walk back to the hotel. The City stretched out before us with folks walking dogs, necking in cars, and falling out of bars all along the way.
The next day we started with a fabulous breakfast at Sam's Diner and some interesting shopping on Market. There was also a trip to the 34th floor of an office building where Cindy went to argue about not getting credited for a special deal on My Points. The people were gracious and gave her the points plus some and we got a fantastic view of the Bay from their offices. We had dinner with Aggie and her husband at an Italian restaurant called Bella's on Geary, where something compelled me to order a regional dish of Spaghetti with yellow tailed tuna, olives, and tomatoes. It was an amazing taste treat that surprised and delighted me. The conversation swirled between talk of my mom and writing and politics and books.
Our Saturday was simply fantastic. We slept late and went out to breakfast at Sam's again. Then we went to see Milk. The movie touched us deeply. We cried, we laughed, we sighed, we were filled with so many feelings, including awe and dismay. We sat watching the credits roll and when the lights came up, we said, "Let's go to the Castro." We walked down the street window shopping. One shopping goal for our trip was to buy rings--if we could find something that suited us-- which is why we went into a little place called Brand X Antiques when we noticed rings in the window. To make a long story short, Fred and Tim, the couple who owned the shop, were in the film Milk, and they explained that their shop, the only place left from Harvey Milk's time, was in the film numerous times. Fred helped us find rings that were absolutely perfect and the two men created a little ceremony in which we exchanged the rings. It was absolutely PERFECT!! Fred wrote down the name of my book and said he was going to go to Books Inc when the shop closed and buy it. Then we went to Sausage Factory for dinner and had absolutely the best pizza ever. It was early so the place was not too busy and we sat in the window and watched the Castro float by in all it's glory!
After dinner, we went back to the hotel to change for the play "Wicked." What a spectacular production!! There are so many layers of messages in this story about individual differences and distorted perceptions, and the sets, costuming, and music were stunning. After the play, we left through a side exit rather than going out through the lobby. The exit opened onto a spectacular view of City Hall all lit up and shimmering in the fog. We walked toward it, talking about Milk and "Wicked" and feeling amazingly happy. When we circled back around to our hotel, there were drag queens all along the street because there was some kind of drag queen event in the Ballroom in our hotel. When they saw our programs, they oohed and aahed, patting us affectionately and telling us how lucky we were to see the play. It felt like rice being thrown upon us at the peak of our experience. We got into the elevator giggling with delight; we simply couldn't stop laughing from the pure pleasure of the way the day had unfolded. . .
An unbelievable adventure in OZ