Thursday, July 22, 2004
Vacation, Day Two
So today I'm doing my favorite thing: sitting around the house. Only in this case it's somebody else's house - my brother's. I'm having a lovely time playing FreeCell and watching the fog roll in (it's been so hot in LA lately and this is such a relief!)
My bro has a flat in an old brownstone in the area of San Francisco near UCSF. I can't think of many other cities in the States where people use the word "flat", but they do here. It isn't an apartment in the New York City sense of the term, where there are multiple housing units on each floor of a building: Here you get the entire floor straight through to the back. These flats are quite spacious - I think his square footage is bigger than my house. My brother bought the place about seven years ago; it had been owned by a family for decades, and the holdout surviving relative was a hermit and had (illegally) split the top floor in half and had rented it out to two different tenants. I visited the house back then and it wasn't in good shape - John put a lot of work into it, and it's in much, much better condition now than it used to be. Drawback: the house is across the street from the local branch of the Fire Department, and it is not unusual for the sirens to gear up and the trucks to roll out about 2:00 am. I asked my sister-in-law this morning if that bothered her and she said, "No, I grew up in New York, but it still bugs John."
Last night after I got in I had dinner with my sister-in-law (takeout Greek salads - she got home late) and we chatted about work and, you know, stuff. She works for Yahoo! (exclamation point obligatory) and I asked greedily about the company cafeteria - were the rumors true? "Yep, it's subsidized and seared tuna and couscous are, like, $3.95." Damn. Needless to say, my Firm does not provide such fringe benefits. (The hospital across the street has free cafeteria food for the MD's but they don't run to gourmet eats there.)
This morning I drove down the peninsula to Menlo Park to visit a high-school friend of mine and admire her youngest child (ten weeks old, and a real cutie), then returned and considered driving across town to a coffee house where I used to hang out back when I lived in SF - but then I realized, hey, I can sit here, drink coffee, read magazines and surf the Net for free! And that's exactly what I did. San Francisco is second only to New York in wringing every last drop of tax income from its tourist population; my motto was "I'm not giving those SOB's an effing cent."
Well, that's not quite true. I did go down the street to get a coffee and some Diet Cokes for tomorrow's drive. And then The Bro called and said he had to work late and why didn't I take the N subway out to the restaurant district for dinner? I almost did but then I remembered this place which makes my all-time favorite pizza and ordered from them instead.
The pizza: the Verdi's Special. Pesto (no tomato sauce), spinach, onion and feta cheese with mozzarella atop. No. Better. Pizza.
On to Mendocino tomorrow.
Oh, I forgot to mention one eye-catching ride: the PimpMobile. It's a hot-pink-and-purple stretch limo parked down the block (it makes me wish I had a digital camera!) I'll see if my brother can tell me anything about the car or the owner.