Saturday, December 28, 2013

Bumper Cars

After work last Monday I walked to the AMC 1000 Van Ness theater—it took about 45 minutes—and saw Dallas Buyers Club, which was marvelous, plus there was literally only one person in the theater besides me, making it even better. Afterward, I walked back home again, stopping at the corner store to get some Kettle organic potato chips. A month or so ago, I told Joe that these existed—he already sold Kettle potato chips, but not the organic ones—and that I suspected they would be a popular item around here. On Monday I saw there was a nice big pile of them. I asked Joe if they are selling and he said, “Oh, yes, they are.” I think he’s forgotten it was my idea, since he didn’t thank me profusely for turning his business around, but I felt gratified at having made the suggestion.

In the afternoon on Christmas Eve, Tom and I drove to Sacramento in his co-worker’s car, in heavy traffic the whole way. It took three hours instead of two, but we arrived just in time for dinner. Present were Paul, Eva, Dan, Steve, Julie, Ann, me, Tom, Chris, Kristin, Sarah, Farid, Jim, Melinda, Abbie, and Dave. Amid the traditional holiday decorations, we enjoyed Eva’s wonderful dinner and later opened a mountain of gifts, followed by dessert. Tom and I spent the night at Ann’s, and Steve and Julie came over Christmas Day morning to join us for breakfast.

Before and during our drives there and back, I kept having this image of getting in a car crash on the freeway, which is not normally a preoccupation. On our way back, as we were on the San Francisco end of the Bay Bridge, I heard Tom say in an unusually panicked tone, “Oh, shit. Oh, shit,” and I looked through the windshield and saw cars just a bit in front and to the side of us careening wildly from side to side and a big cloud of smoke; there was an awful smell. A chain reaction was underway and I assumed that in the next two seconds, we would be in a crash, but fortunately nothing appeared directly in front of us and we rolled on. I asked Tom what happened and he said the driver of a Jeep was going too fast, not paying attention, and suddenly had to lock up the brakes (causing the smoke and bad smell), causing the car right in front of it suddenly to veer into the next lane, trying to avoid being hit.

The Jeep in question had a woman driver and a woman passenger and a bumper sticker that said something like “Hope the fetus you save is gay,” and when I turned to give them a stern look, I saw they didn’t look disturbed. In fact, they looked a little smiley, like, “Whoa, that was trippy!” Maybe they were drunk. They were ahead of us on Cesar Chavez and turned up toward Bernal Hill. I proposed to Tom that we follow them and beat them up, but he wasn’t in favor.

On Thursday, Tom and I walked back to the movie theater on Van Ness and saw American Hustle—excellent—and then walked home again, stopping at Sunflower to split an order of garlic noodles with tofu. Friday night we had dinner at Esperpento.
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