Maturity is only a short break in adolescence.
~ Jules Feiffer
Strange Life of Ivan Osokin
TONIGHT on TV
JUST LIKE A GROWN UP
16 August 2004
I wonder when we know were "grown up." Here I sit, at the ripe old age of 61 and still wonder when Im going to feel grown up. You go through your life, day to day, and you do things because Mommy taught you to do them. Most of the time you feel like a rebellious adolescent. Occasionally you get to feel like a grown up.
Well last night was kind of a grown up night.
Our friend Dave Tucker is a one time actor, professional historian, public relations practitioner, community organizer and activist. He makes his living these days as a free lance writer and Coast Guard licensed boat captain driving a water bus and providing tourist guide services. He and his somewhat new wife were in town for a few days. Dave is an old CompuServe friend from years and years ago and we have gotten together with him several times, both on this side of the country and on the other side of the country, when we all traveled together to watch Georgia Griffith be honored by the Smithsonian Museum for her contribution to Information Technology for the handicapped.
Those CompuServe days are past us now, thanks to the gutting of CompuServe forums by AOL, but its still nice to get together and reminisce when we have the opportunity. Recall past on-line wars, bemoan the demise of the golden days of the "old" CompuServe, talk about jerks we have known, etc.
Since Daves wife likes dungeness crab, we made plans to meet at Fishermans Wharf, at Aliotos restaurant. Aliotos was owned by Mario Alioto who, I assume, is related to the former mayor of San Francisco, the late Joe Alioto, and, I suspect, also to my former grammar school classmate Anthony Alioto. I was telling Walt that whenever I drive around San Francisco, I am always reminded of grammar school, since the parents of my classmates seemed to own a lot of the businesses in town.
Once again, we crept down Highway 80 from Davis at snails pace for at least the first half of the trip to San Francisco. We never did figure out what was backing traffic up so badly, though at about the spot where it opened up, there were some highway patrol guys on motorcycles, so perhaps there had been an accident.
Finding parking in San Francisco is always a problem, and finding parking at Fishermans Wharf? Well, you might as well forget it! There is a reason why the parking lots around there charge astronomical prices. We were all set to grit our teeth and pay $15 to park in a lot when, miracle of miracles (thanks to my parking angel), a spot opened up right in front of us, just 2 blocks from the restaurant. Instead of paying $15, we paid 25 cents and were actually on time, walking in to Alioto's at exactly 7 p.m.
There were 7 of us at dinner: Dave and his wife, Walt and me, Pam (another CompuServe crony) and her husband Michael, and I.W., who graduated from grammar school with Dave, and whom I had met four years ago when he first moved to this area.
I guess I felt like a grown up because we aren't used to going to fancy restaurants and having a prime table. We sat directly opposite the Golden Gate bridge and watched the sun go down. I think I was more delighted with that than anyone. I'm a bigger tourist in SF than any tourist I've ever shown around the city. I love San Francisco. I love looking it from every angle. I love photographing it. I love showing it off. So I sat there and drank in the sun setting behind the bridge while the others sat with their backs to the glorious view and chatted.
It was kind of sticker shock to check the prices on the menu, but what the heck--it doesn't happen all the time. I thought of getting steamed dungeness crab, but always get scared off by an item on the menu whose price changes from day so you have to ask the waiter (especially in a place where there were prices as high as $60!). Instead, I opted for seafood canneloni, which was stuffed with mostly crab anyway and was delicious.
Over dinner, and then over coffee, and then just sitting around taking up space for another 45 minutes, we dissected the upcoming election, Bush-bashed, worried about what will happen if Bush actually gets elected, and tried to figure out where we are all going to move if we are faced with four more years of the Bush administration.
It was on the one hand depressing, and on the other hand refreshing to be with six other like-minded people, all of whom are a lot better informed than I.
When we finally left the restaurant, we said our goodbyes and the tourists went off looking for a bus home while the native (me) went shopping in a souvenir shop (I can't pass up those tacky souvenir shops, even in a town that I still call home!)
It was nearly 1 a.m. before we got home, to a happy Sheila, and an e-mail from David Gerrold announcing that he and his son will be here in two weeks, and will be staying with us.
Time to clean up because Mommy always taught me to clean up before guests come. So much for being a grown up.