You know your holiday is over when you stare in dismay at credit card bills that accrued in just a few days…in one of the world’s most expensive cities. Should’ve known better, you tell yourself. Better stay home now. Maybe forever. Turn to less expensive pastimes. Like growing lettuce. Or taking naps. Or watching the fog.
The San Francisco low-cloud phenomenon is legendary, and for good reason. The urban backdrop keeps changing. Glen Park just happens to be a meteorological borderland. In the afternoons, Pacific fog gets this far, then gives up. A boiling white army of cloud marches in from the west, rolling in formation down the southern slopes of Twin Peaks, only to meet partial defeat in my neighborhood. Look up in almost any direction and you’ll see tufts of clouds pulled away from the main body, the boiling fog bank dismembered. Partial clearing, one might call it. Dynamic would be another word.
Dynamic is also a kind way of describing one’s energy level. In this particular event, I fairly bounded out of bed, flew into 45 minutes of cardiovascular extravagance, vis-à-vis exercycle…then, like the fog, began to dissipate. This is the strangest thing about jetlag. Just when you think you’re over it, it is all over you. And suddenly. It’s like someone has flipped a neuropeptide switch, and a part of you that was on, is now off.
Whatever. Thing is to keep moving. In any available direction. And, it turns out, someone reentering life has only so many directions. West is one of them. West is where the Sloat Garden Center offers a certain number of lettuce seedlings. How many one cannot say. That’s why one has to drive there. And driving is important, having done so little of it so recently. And having feared it so enormously.
But like the fog, that fear seems to be dissipating. So there’s no time like the present. Except all the time that got lost the other day flying to San Francisco, time that is still lagging behind the other time, an entire life, it seems. An after image of this life following the other life. And which life is this? No one knows. Which lettuce is much more interesting and, let’s be plain, easier to answer.
Yet in minutes this entire plan deflates to nothingness. Instead, I decide to start my van, let it run for a few minutes, just to keep the battery up. While I go down. For the count. My jetlag is better, but still around. Actually, while the van is chugging away, I drive 100 meters uphill, reverse course and park. It is street cleaning day tomorrow, an occasion of much joy for San Francisco’s parking enforcers. I’m now on the right side of the street, the right side of the law, but it is the wrong side of 5 PM…and I anticipate an early night.