Wake up at 4:15 am. Didn't mean to. Go back to sleep. Wake up 4:45. No. No. No. Close eyes. Alarm rings 5:00. Slide out of bed. It is still dark out. Grope way to closet. Throw on Gray pants with little white polka dots. Flats. Soft sweater. Gray coat. Do ministrations. Zip up already packed suitcase. Hidden in closet because Nala has grown to hate it. She knows what it means. Lap top in carry on. Ipad in purse. Liquids and gels in year old ziplock. Fold up beats headphones Debbie got me. Blanket. Extension cord. Luna bars. Orange, Check off list in head.
Carry everything downstairs. Nala follows sullenly. Take her out. Feed her. Alysha is up and on way to teach her yoga class. Bye honey. Out the door by 5:45. Drive to airport. 6:10. Park. Security is pretty empty. Sleepwalk through the drill. Arrive at gate. Get on plane. Walking down the aisle. "Karen!" Look to the right. There is Susie. Lovely surprise. We mentally hug each other. Sit down. Fall asleep. Wake up as we land in San Francisco. 9:15. Susie is waiting for me outside. We make plans and get in our respective cabs.
My driver is wearing a red turban. The car is rattling. I look at the speedometer which is approaching 85 mph on the freeway. There's no traffic and he is flying. Get into the city. Weaving, honking, rolling down window and yelling at people to get the heck out of his way. A real joyous experience. Pulls up to the hotel. I stagger out of the cab. A well dressed man is waiting to get in. Uh, he'll get you there but hang on I warn him. Sure he says. Not believing me.
Enter Serrano hotel. Old, Adorable. Slightly musty which makes it feel just right. Get a room with a view of an alley wall. Also perfect because it is so quiet. 10:30. Throw on running gear and out the door. Have iphone just in case get lost. Realize am right next door to the Hilton where i stayed in July. Know the route by heart. Down O'Farrell, Geary, to Market and over to the Embarcardero, stadium, across the small footbridge to the park on the other side. Where the homeless people with camper sized loaded shopping carts are rolling up their sleeping bags. Run back. 11:50. Clean up. Throw computer, laptop and extension cord into purse. Out the door. 12:15.
Hit address on iphone. Hoping it's by Chinatown so can get dim sum. It isn't. Walk up and up and up. Don't get lost. Stop at Lebanese bakery and get spinach filled pastry-sandwich thing for lunch. With a chocolate chip cookie of course. Eat and walk. Purse is heavy. Arrive at hospital. Put on badge. Find conference room. Have to wait because it's locked. Deal with email. Get some water. Come back. Doctor expert is there.
Chit chat with him. The two defense attorneys arrive. Where's the court reporter. Not my problem. Am smug. They call their office. Court reporter shows up late, apologizing. Deposition gets started. And goes... For four hours. Are you kidding me. Dang. No dim sum.
Walk out with the doctor. He offers to drive me back to the hotel. I want to walk. It is dark. People are on the way home from work. Walk down a ways. Text Susie. Am running a little late. We agree to be late.
I have time to shop! A whole 30 minutes. This means that I don't have time to shop. 6:00. Walk to Tosca Cafe. I've beaten her there. Get a table. She arrives. We have a great time. Yummy dinner that involves a whole lot of olive oil. Walk back to her hotel. Mine is just a few blocks away. What trouble could I possibly get into.
Call Cristina. She acts like my mom. Doesn't want me walking around by myself. I describe the various homeless people that I'm passing. There's one really bad one. Quite out of it. Talking loudly to the air with his pants down around his ankles apparently having just gone potty. Not a pretty sight. This is in the high rent district in the planters of Union Square. People who complain about Seattle's homeless problem need to get a grip. We are small time compared to this.
Decide deserve a cookie. Find a bakery and get one. Cristina is nagging me to hurry up and get back to the hotel. Ge there. She let's me hang up. Do this and that until a little before 1:00 and call it a night. Wake up at 5:30. Can't help it. Rats. Pretend to sleep until 6:45. Throw on running gear, out the door and do the same route. Hurry. Determined to get to Chinese bakery before the deposition. Get back at 8:15. Get ready. Throw everything back in suitcase. Out the door by 8:40.
Need to be at the court report's office by 9:00 to meet the next doctor expert. Iphone says it is only .8 miles away. No need for crazy cab driver. March down sidewalk hauling luggage in un-tourist like manner. So far so good. Go up the hill. Go down the hill.
And then I see it. The hallowed entry gate to China Town. My dim sum bakery is just a few blocks up. I can taste the chinese pancakes that are my favorite. Oily gooey deliciousness with a hint of bean paste. Trust me, it is good. Watch says have 10 minutes to get there. Oh the unrequited longing. The pain of not being able to say hello little dim sum treat. But duty calls. Stoically march past the pearly gates.
Looking for 225 Bush. But it is 225 Montgomery. Where is it. Walk back and forth, up and down. Holding up Iphone this way and that. Am now late. Thank heavens for Google. Call the reporter office and apparently just haven't walked quite far enough. Get to building, ride up to the 18th floor. Get off elevator. Trudge down hall. Dejected that dim sum dream is not to be. Open the door. And am greeted by extremely handsome Dr. Expert McDreamy. He is so cute that I forget my woes.
Crack open a Luna Bar. Chit chat. Defense attorneys arrive. Deposition goes for three hours. Long enough for me not to be able to go to China Town on way out. Instead, after saying bye bye to the cute one, the three of us trundle down the block. Down the escalators to Bart. Actually figure out how to buy tickets and ride the thing to the airport. We are very pleased with ourselves. T and I eat at the crappy restaurant at the airport. Honestly San Francisco - how can you have such good food in the city and such bad food at the airport.
2:15. Get on the plane. Plug into ipad which no longer have to turn off thanks to the FAA. Watch wierd movie. Darkman. Liam Neeson is in it and I like him. But this is a gawd awful action thing. Had uploaded it to watch when treadmill running because like action movies to keep me going. Unfortunately have enough energy to concentrate on it, and it is horrid. Plane lands. 4:30. Talk to Noelle on drive home. Talk to Cristina. Traffic on viaduct. Look at red lights all the way home. Tell Cristina am thinking of stopping into office. It is 5:45. Parking lot empty. She talks me out of it. Go to Whole Foods. Get dinner. Arrive home. Nala throws herself at me in relief. Alysha's in the kitchen doing homework. Chit chat.
Unpack. Take Nala out. Watch Woody Allen's Manhattan. Do a couple more hours of work. Call it a day.
Photo: The cab driver.