City / Home

I should have known better than to book a hotel room through Airbnb.  I found it with my GPS guidance, annoying though she can be.  But once parked, I could not enter.  Construction blocked half of the ground floor rooms and the entire entrance.  I would have to scale a rickety, makeshift set of steps and descend to a rubble of concrete.  

Eventually, I got into a room.  Thoughts of a short stroll to a Chinatown restaurant vanished.  The elevator could not open on the street level.  My car had been captured by the valet-only, no in-and-out basement parking lot which had the only  functioning lift to my third-floor room.  I ordered from DoorDash and ate at the simulated oak table.  I tried to be philosophical about the lost romance of the evening I had envisioned.

In the morning, I checked out far earlier than planned just to escape.  I made my way to the neighborhood of my scheduled appointments, trolling for a parking spot decently near any open breakfast venue.  My luck asserted itself and I landed at Jane on Fillmore with a delicious egg-topped avocado toast and a seat next to a pleasant retired attorney who swims every morning in East Bay.  Imagine that; swimming in something that I only spy from an overhead bridge at fifty miles per hour.

After several hours of grueling examinations of my uncooperative eyes, I found a vegetarian restaurant for lunch.  One out of two dishes rose to the lofty menu descriptions.  But I had a view of the Golden Gate bridge, even though they don’t seat parties of one by the window.  I drank hot tea and read a few paragraphs of the next in a well-written series that I recently discovered.  I’m dreading the day I turn the last page of the final book.  The author died in 2009.

I got lost trying to find the entrance to the highway that would take me home.  Eventually, I turned down a street with the same name as the levy road on which I live.  That took me to the proper turn-off and I started east.  A moment occurs in every trip to the coast when I say goodbye to the ocean.  On this trip, I saw a flash of it from the Bay Bridge on my second circuit around the city.  Somehow I got confused, or stuck in the wrong lane.  I went north on the Golden Gate, east on the Richmond, and back west on the Bay before I finally got straightened around.  My advantage lost, I settled into the groove of afternoon traffic, resolved to endure a three-hour drive that would have been ninety minutes had I been paying closer attention.

When I finally dropped my overnight bag on the floor of my tiny house, the sun had set over the Delta.  I had watched it from my sideview mirror as I waited for an accident to clear on Highway 12 a few miles west of town.  I poured a cold glass of water and sank into the easy chair that my friend Tim the pig farmer gave me.  Whenever I go to the city, I spend a lot of time stressing over whether I should spend the money for a hotel or rise hours before dawn to beat the rush hour traffic headed in the same direction.  Then I pressure myself to pack food to save the restaurant expense.  Each encounter with a host who queries if anyone will be joining me causes a moment of panicked realization that I have indeed arrived at late middle-age alone, just as my mother predicted.  All of these things overshadow the pleasure of moments at my beloved Pacific and the thrill of finding a used bookstore just steps from where I have breakfast.  

Back home from my two days in the city, I scrolled through the dozen photos that I snapped from my car window.  I had not taken time to drive to the headlands or northwards to the rugged shoreline at Point Reyes.  But I had seen some sights.  Then I had returned to the countryside, and the simple views of my daily existence.  The shadow of the city lingered, flickering just out of sight.  Night fell.  I stood out on my porch and listened to the eager yip of distant coyotes and the mournful lullaby of a pigeon settling into the branches overhead.  I pulled my shawl close around my shoulders, then went inside to prepare myself for sleep.

It’s the fourth day of the one-hundred and nineteenth month of My Year Without Complaining.  Life continues.

There are eleven photos in this gallery.  Sometimes the galleries lag; if you click on the frozen photo and then exit out of it, the scrolling should resume.  Please enjoy.

2 thoughts on “City / Home

  1. Schroeder

    Your home is so very peaceful compared to hectic city life – with its traffic and noise. You describe it well.
    Birds singing, crows cawing, coyotes yelping – you made a fine choice to live where you live.
    I am curious – what is the series that you are reading?


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