Vacation Eve

The first question is why does it take me so long to pack when I've just got one small suitcase? I have no idea. Presumably it is a mystery held alongside why it takes me so long to clean a rather modest one-bedroom apartment. Nevertheless, I think I've got everything in order at last. In the morning, I will arise at an hour I usually prefer to leave to its own devices and trundle off to the airport wishing I were less spindly and/or not afflicted with an escalator phobia. There is always more suitcase hoisting than I wish there were.

But then I'll arrive! In summer!

A colleague and I were talking today about how difficult it is to pack in San Francisco and simultaneously suspend your disbelief sufficiently to fully commit to the notion of heat. She confessed that it is impossible for her to pack to go anywhere without at least one wool sweater. I've got two in my bag."In the evening, the fog will roll in" becomes a state of mind. On Saturday I went with some friends to see Raiders of the Lost Arc in Dolores Park. Everyone takes a picnic and when it gets dark, they show the movie. I believe this is a common summertime activity all over the country if not, indeed, the world. The problem is that here it is freezing. The fog blows into Dolores Park with a vengeance of an evening. As all the revelers got off the bus, we could easily have been mistaken for Arctic explorers. In fact, the only time all year that I routinely wear my down jacket is for summer movies in Dolores Park. My colleague puzzled over why San Franciscans are doggedly determined to have these traditional outdoor summer events and I don't really know. We just don't want to be left out.

I am quite delighted to be included in a real way, though. In a leave-your-down-jacket-at-home kind of way. In a don't-forget-your-bathing-suit kind of way. Indeed, I am promised Pimm's cup and swimming in a lake. Also, I'll bet there will be significantly less pot smoke. Just in general. The hallmarks of the San Francisco outdoor gathering: you're freezing and you're either smoking pot yourself or getting a contact high because you are the only one who isn't. As we walked out of the park after approximately three and a half hours of freezing and inhaling, we passed through yet another pungent cloud, at which point my friend said, "Do you think there's any pot left to smoke in the world?"

This is entirely unrelated, but on my mind. A friend of mine called me from Paris today to tell me that he is moving to Brazil. He also told me the history of the potato in Ireland for some reason. That was novel. My French isn't what it once was, so it is with some relief that I tell you the word "famine" is essentially the same in both languages. If you don't know the word for famine, the whole Irish potato story loses a lot of its punch. The Brazil relocation is not unexpected; he has been splitting his time between the two places for years with the intention of moving permanently. I was still strangely blindsided by the news. I used to have a lot of friends in Paris, but he was the last of them--and the only vrai parisien, born and raised. For me the two of them, the city and the man, are inextricably linked and matter to me equally. Quite selfishly, I hate to think of him not being there. I'm not sure there's enough sunscreen in the world to get me to Brazil, but we'll see. Tu me manqueras, mon beau.

Bon. That's enough of that.

If I don't go to bed, I'm likely to miss my plane altogether and that won't do at all. Happy summer to you. Here's hoping yours doesn't require mittens.