My WideEyedBrokenArm and I stumbled through San Francisco last week. We presented research findings. We learned about other people’s new research. We fumbled through botched handshake attempts and embarrassing dropsies of all kinds.
Then, the Stealth Cast and I went out into the world. (The bone doc says a black cast is a Stealth Cast because of its Ninja-like invisibility. The eye slides across it. Sort of.)
I slung my good arm around an outside pole on the Powell-Hyde trolley car line and wing-dinged my way across Nob Hill, Russian Hill, Chinatown to Fisherman’s Wharf. I could feel the wind of our passage blowing through the fiberglass of my Stealth Cast as it dangled in the open space of the city streets. The trolley driver rolled his eyes at me and kept yelling for me to “Hold on!” I held on even though my knees got weak when the Golden Gate Bridge loomed over the city next to us. Even when the curviest street in the city went by. Even when I saw San Francisco Bay and Alcatraz gleaming in the sun.
My WideEyedFriends patiently waited for me to make squashed penny souvenirs all over the place. We poked into galleries filled with garish, sublime, lovely art and gee-gaws. I fell in love with a $4,000 painting by Bernard Weston. The Stealth Cast, intoxicated by the trolley ride said to get it. The Spouse thought not when I mentioned it via text message.
We heard sea lions barking in the distance and tracked them down. They had taken over an entire set of docks where they lounged like the laziest dogs in the universe until a tourist boat went by. Then, “ook, ook, ook,” they all barked and hollered, squirming for position. Just like Miss Tibbit in the parlor window at home. How nice. At lunch I went mad and bought a two foot long crab made of sourdough bread to haul back to Buffalo. I just toasted one of his claws for lunch. “Tasty, but weird,” the Spouse announced.
Chinatown tempted beyond all reason. The Stealth Cast prevented real shopping – but my WideEyes still worked and I saw and wanted so many things. In the apothecary, tea for broken bones. In the gee-gaw shop, a jade chicken. Foo dogs by the dozen, silk robes and scarves and dresses. Woks. Terracotta soldiers. I dreamed of a packing crate and a small army of non-casted minions to pack and ship the goods.
So tired I was mostly just falling forward with each step, Stealth Cast a weight at the end of my arm, the Friends and I holed up in a small Italian restaurant at the top of a hill. One plate of mushroom ravioli and a glass of Chianti later and I was ready to retire to the fireplace sofas in my hotel. The Stealth Cast and I stared into the fire and thought about packing up and riding the BART train back to the airport.
We also thought about staying.