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THE BABY EXPLODED

6 October 2002

”The baby exploded,” Haggie said to me. We were standing in line to get on a boat which would take us off of Alcatraz island and back to San Francisco proper.

“The baby” would be young five month old Victor, son of Beth ("not 'the' Beth--just Beth"). Up to the time he exploded, Vic had been an absolute delight for two days, happily either riding in his sling or nuzzling up against Kymm’s neck (the woman has a real maternal streak). But somewhere between Cell Block D and the exercise yard, Vic did that thing that all babies do so well…especially breastfed babies. The result was that himself, his mother, his carrier, and probably everything in a two or three cell radius were covered in baby poo.

Haggie, being the maternal type that she is, left.

I’m not sure if this was a high or low point of JournalCon 2002, but it was one of “those moments.” There have been lots of “those moments,” mostly revolving around buzz words, which I suppose will forever be frozen into the memory banks of those of us who have been here.

“Eat it like a taco.” I’m sure a lot of journals are going to be mentioning that one. Apparently the organizers of this fine event (take a bow, committee–you have done/are doing a fine job!) received a panicky call from someone at the Golden Phoenix, the restaurant where we had the opening night banquet. He was calling to explain that the first course of the set menu would be some chopped pork in a lettuce leaf and all of us should be told that we needed to “eat it like a taco.”

(I have to admit here that some of our members – you know who you are – actually used utensils to eat the pork mixture and did not “eat it like a taco.” I’m sure that they were talked about back in the kitchen. I’m sure that is why it took an hour to get the next course.)

In spite of the social blunders involving this ritualistic course, the rest of the food was delicious and the noise of 70 journalists getting to know one another was much appreciated by the other patrons.

Since we had all become pretty chummy the previous night, on Saturday morning, after the first session (I listened to how (not) to make money writing for the internet–fascinating session, which Dr. G will hear much about on Monday--thank you, John, for our conversation after the session), we gathered in the main room where we checked out the swag (Beth brought CDs which were snapped up so fast by those of us hovering around the table, that I know most of the others didn’t even realize she’d brought them) and munched bagels or homemade cookies (made by SlaveGirl), and Haggie gave me a blow job. It’s a shame nobody had a camera ready (though everyone around us was carrying cameras.)

(Uh….that would be she blew the crumbs off of my fanny pack…but let’s not get technical; my version will get me more Google hits.)

When the second panel was over (and I’m now all inspired to become the most popular journal in the history of the world, if Kymm and Beth ("the" Beth, not just Beth) and Pineapple Girl will retire), we took off for Fisherman’s Wharf and our trip to Alcatraz.

Here is where we met "Spitting Guy" and Haggie learned that she could continue to function normally without batting an eyelash even when someone was spitting on her (sorry, dear…did I steal the plot of your next entry?) The guy in question was a homeless sort who followed us onto the bus and said he needed a dollar because he was hungry. (Nevermind that the fare to get on the bus is a dollar and if he’d just gone into Starbucks instead of getting on the bus, he might have solved his problem–and ours). When we ignored his pleas for money is when he spat on Haggie (thank god I’d chosen the window seat; I only got a hint of the spray) and told her she was a bitch (how did he know?) and that he would cut her head off. Welcome to San Francisco, folks!

Ultimately, I gave him 50 cents and he finally got off the bus, thanking me and yelling at the other bitches (who says you can’t buy love?) Later in the day, Amanda reported that there had been at least three more sightings of the spitting guy around Fisherman’s Wharf. We missed that. We weren’t unhappy about that.

We disembarked and walked to Pier 39, where Jen passed out our tickets to the Alcatraz tour and I discovered that I did not, after all, have charged camera batteries and the ones I had were dying. I rushed off to a nearby Kodak kiosk and bought replacements, for $7+, handed the guy a $20 and it wasn’t until I was on the boat that I realized he’d given me change for a $10. Nice scam there.

Despite having lived in SF throughout my childhood and in the Bay Area until 1973, and despite having gone to school with children of guards on the island, and always having a curiosity about it, I’d never been to “the rock” before. Partly because I was afraid of that half mile, 12% grade you have to walk up to the top. With my weighty problems, I was embarrassed to admit I didn’t think I could make it. I didn’t realize they had a tram, which I learned today, for those who are “mobility impaired.” However, I am now a jockette and took the hill and the grade so effortlessly that when we got to the top, I was surprised, thinking we surely had another few switchbacks to go.

The tour was lovely--if a tour of a maximum security prison can be "lovely"--and shortly after the baby exploded, Haggie’s water broke. Which was kind of interesting, given that she’s not pregnant. Her water bottle had leaked all over her backpack. She hoped it might have blurred her journal entry too much and that she wouldn’t have to read it later, but that was not the case.

Getting back to the hotel was ridiculous. Hez, Haggie and I took a break to have some fresh cracked crab while Kymm and entourage walked down to Ghirardelli Square. But then trying to get any wheeled or cabled vehicle to take us back to the hotel proved to be a lot easier said than done. We eventually got on a bus which moved at about 1 foot every five minutes through the Saturday crowds in North Beach. Consequently, we missed most of the journal entry readings and only got to hear our own. There we were: Haggie and I both in our “I’m a Boob” t-shirts, me reading about buying a bra, and Haggie reading about buying a sports bra. Honestly, we didn’t plan that!

Then off to dinner. There was the sushi group, the Italian group, the Indian group, and our small group– the Vietnamese group. Charlie (did I get that name right? I'm not sure of the link) knew of a great Vietnamese restaurant (which Julia Child loved, despite the fact that it’s a total hole in the wall, looks like a dive, and is on one of the more dangerous streets in the city). He, Javina and Amanda took a cab. Haggie and I being jockettes (and too cheap to pay for a cab) walked. My feet may forgive me, but we’re still negotiating.

However, dinner definitely lived up to the hype. The place may have looked like total crap, but the food was to die for, and I’m sure that we had the cheapest meal of the group (since our huge, delicious dinners averaged about $5 each).

The rest went back to the hotel; Haggie and I got on BART and here I am trying to stay awake, trying to sound at least partially coherent, and not really succeeding at either.

Tomorrow, when I get home, I’ll have pix. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a picture of either spitting guy or the exploding baby.

Quote of the Day

Keep a diary, and someday it'll keep you.

--Mae West

Photo of the Day

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I'll have JournalCon pix
tomorrow--but in the meantime,
look at the ceiling of a restaurant
where we had brunch recently.

 

One Year Ago
Friends Indeed
People often asked if I wasn't frightened, meeting total strangers. But I can honestly say that I haven't had a single bad experience and, in fact, have made some of my best friends as a result of this new medium.

Two Years Ago
My Personal Trainer
I have grown to senior citizenry without having acquired a love of moving for the sake of moving. My joints now resent any demand made on them. Sitting for longer than 5 minutes causes creaking and pain upon arising. The weight makes the knees protest when climbing stairs. Walking is fine up to a point but sooner or later the ankles cry out "Excuse me? Remember us? I don’t think so!"


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