I was walking along Mission St. the other day and saw a woman wearing a t-shirt with a big M on it, which at first I thought was the University of Michigan’s M, but it was an M for the Mission district, and for the first time in 30 years of living in this neighborhood, I realized how similar the sounds are, the name of the place where I spent my first 20 years and the place I’ve been ever since, except for that first obligatory year in the Haight Ashbury: They both start with “mish” and end with “un,” but one of them has an “ig” stuck in the middle of it.
When I left for work Thursday morning, Hammett made a break for the hallway, but was hustled unceremoniously back inside. When I got home later, I could tell from his expression that he remembered something untoward had occurred earlier, but also that he couldn’t remember what it was.
That evening, Lesley and I had dinner at Santaneca. It was Halloween, when I usually hide in my apartment from all the drunken revelers outside, so I was surprised to see who was actually thronging the streets about 6 p.m. on Halloween: many, many tiny princesses.
I sent Frank a birthday card and he emailed back, “Funny, I didn’t even realize it was my birthday up until the day before, when my mother said, ‘You have a big day tomorrow.’ I thought she was referring to my beloved Liverpool football team, and was enthusiastic that after 37 years she was finally taking an interest. Alas.”
On Friday, Tom’s girlfriend came to town—at last! It’s been several months. Over dinner at Esperpento, D. teased Tom: “Were you worried?” I interrupted to say, “I was worried! I can understand if you’re tired of Tom, but I was starting to think you were leaving me.” I told D. that I had conducted an investigation, asking Tom, “The last time you saw D., did everything seem fine? You always offer to pay for her overnight parking, right? You don’t?! If D. ever comes to visit again, offer to pay for her parking!”
But it was truly just a case of mismatched schedules and expensive kids, and it was delightful to be with good-natured D. again, and dinner was fantastic. That place is so wonderful, and so surprisingly inexpensive. Tom had grilled trout, I had grilled salmon, and D. had garlic shrimp, and we all had rice and potatoes, the latter with yummy brava sauce.