Valentine’s Day… from Hell?

So, the four of us had a date for dinner in San Francisco. The plan was to meet my cousin, Susie and her hubby Larry, for dinner…at 6 p.m. The four of us included the Rayman and moi and Ruth and Tom Donnolly.

To preface my remarks, may I please offer you the following information. Ruth and I fancy ourselves fairly techie types for our ages…not the ages, but our ages. And we also have a wonderful array of marvelous gadgets designed to make life easier. So, what did we do? We left the hotel in Millbrae to head to San Francisco with absolutely no plan on the best way to get there. Now, I fully admit that this was my fault. I assured all that I knew where I was going. For those of you that read my blog regularly, you know this is the kiss of death, metaphorically speaking. And the Donnolly’s should have know better…but

I digresss.

We turned right out of the El Rancho Hotel and headed up the street. The Rayman was driving. It was 5:36 p.m. We had intended to leave at 5:30 but I couldn’t find my driver’s license. And I never did. But at 5:30 I didn’t know the search was futile so I spent 6 precious minutes looking in vain for the darn thing. Giving up, we all jumped in the car and off we went.

So, we took surface streets while we looked for a street that I’d recognize as a freeway off ramp street. Light after light we wiled awayed our precious minutes. Finally, Ruthie turned on her iPhone and I turned on the Garmin and we started receiving outside help. Finally we reached Grand in San Bruno. The we turned on Airport. And then we merged onto the freeway and joined the traffic already in motion…going about 5 miles an hour. In the meantime, Ray was having a hissy fit. G D traffic. “We should have left earlier…oh, jesus christ, look at the driver. Why isn’t he moving? Shit there is another light on this street. The cross traffic is just sitting there…G.D. traffic.” And I cleaned this up I want you to know.

“Well, I should just slit my wrists”, I remarked ever so subtly. “No, just go for the jugular. It’s quicker.” Now i do want to remind the reader that this was VALENTINE’S DAY. OMG. It just kept getting worse. And the more we carried on, the quieter it got in the backseat until finally Tom said, “I just finished both bottles of wine and I am more relaxed now.”

In the meantime, we managed to merge onto 280 which was moving…until we hit the City. Then everything came to a screeching halt. We, Ruth and I, kept looking at our mechanical devices for instruction. But I kept overruling the mechanical devices because the devices did not know how screwed up the traffic was. By this time, we were about 2.7 miles away and it was 6:15. Oh, and I forgot. Ruth called the restaurant to beg their forgiveness for our tardiness after my cousin Susie failed to answer her cell phone. All the while Ray had figured out that Susie was probably already eating and in a bad mood. Ray does have a way of always expecting the worse. And I kept overruling our devices. “Ray, get in the right lane.” “But it’s a bus lane”, he replied. “Okay, don’t get in the bus lane.” “yes, but look…those cars are getting in the bus lane”, he exclaimed. “Okay, well, go ahead and get int he bus lane”, I suggested. “No, Ray, you don’t want to get a ticket”, Tom advised. “Go ahead, Ray. Get in the bus lane”, I urged. “I can’t”, Ray said. “There’s a G.D. bus there.” And so it went. So we finally turned off that street (from the bus lane) and got onto another choked-off street (Mission) and at one point, a limo driver in the right lane abruptly opened his driver side door and we almost hit it. Then Ray almost rear ended a car (thank goodness for good breaks, he said) and the ride continued. Only, we were mostly not going anywhere fast.

Ruth, determined to have a good time in the City, said things like, “Oh, look. We’re in San Francisco.” And, “If they give our reservation away, look at all the fun we’ll have trying to find another place to eat.” I mean, really. She really did say things like that.

Finally we hit the Embarcadero and turned left. We were looking for Battery St. Before we got there, Ray spotted Green St. and got in the left turn lane. He said the restaurant was “right up there”. The Garmin said to turn right and then left. No. Why would it tell us to do that? Then we hit Green and it was one-way so we had our answer to that question. Well, I was totally beside myself by now because it was 6:30 and I figured we had lost our reservation and Susie was probably really upset with me…and so I said, “Ruth, let’s get out. You guys go find a place to park.” With that I leaped out of the car and opened Ruthie’s door. Well, Ruthie didn’t have any idea this was about to happened. She had her camera out, her phone out and god knows what else out and she had to button it all up and jump out of the car as I was beginning to walk down the street. And low and behold, the restaurant sat there in front of us like a beacon in the night. WE HAD ARRIVED.

So, when I jolted thru the door, I saw my cousin and Larry sitting there and I said, “OMG. The traffic was horrible”. She was so relieved because i said exactly what she told Larry I would say. So, that made everything okay. But I was a little displeased to think that I was that predictable. She assured me that I was. And we were off and running and had a great meal with lots of laughs and wonderful wine which, I might add, really made us feel better too!

Frosting on the cake was when we were leaving the restaurant, Ray backed into the car behind us. Tom (the retired LAPD policeman) yelled, “Hurry, get the hell out of here.” You can’t make this stuff up.

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