My aunt, as we know, trains dogs, and was doing an exhibition at the Frontierland Park celebration in Pacifica. She had asked at the last minute if I would help out as stagehand and moral support, and of course I agreed (well, after checking the various calendars and with people to see what was going on). So she picked me up in the morning, and we headed off to set up and get the last bits of rehearsal in. My cousin dropped off Deacon after we were properly set up. I innovated a better carrying technique for her bags of props -- my rainbow umbrella as a yoke, atop the luggage cart with the metal folding pen bits.
My poor aunt had serious stage fright, as she envisioned a huge crowd. It was not that big a crowd after all, maybe about twenty people, mostly little kids, and Deacon rolled on his back right on cue for the Ogden Nash poem (he'd extemporized a roll right as my aunt said "And four legs underneath" during dress rehearsal, and I thought it was hilarious and she added it to the routine) and that worked really well, even though he was a little bit limp for some of the fancy footwork. Dog's getting old. It was pretty hot, and I was glad I brought my umbrella. Life was good. Life was really good. People cooking out, a reading of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution (or at least bits of it), kids running screaming ... good. Amazing. I soaked in the breezes and ambiance.
My aunt noticed that Deacon was probably overheating after the dog competition started, and we packed up to go home. A teenage kid sat down at my table looking overheated, and he borrowed my great big rainbow umbrella and cooled off a bit.
It was 2:30 by the time we were out of there, and I hung out at her place for a bit. She has a new garden thing, and it is exciting. She caused a retaining wall to be built on the little useless strip of land below the garden fence (the back yard is a terrace) and now has a little terraced garden about seven feet wide. It has an unhapple (unhappy apple) tree. I discovered how to tuck a chunk of ice into the top of my braid. I was a little too delighted by this discovery.
Then, on to the fireworks! The boys had gone to the Stern Grove concert, and they left about the same time I did. We were to meet at Pier 39. I took a few minutes while waiting for BART to call my best friend, who could only talk for a few minutes himself. It was no matter! It is just that the little moments of connection make my overall life into something better than it would otherwise be.
My Google Maps directions were a bit bogus, or I'd written them down wrong. In any case I got to the right bus stop (for the 8x) and launched myself in the direction of the Embarcadero. The bus stopped short of where I'd planned to get off: the streets were blocked off further! No matter! I hiked the few blocks, with a growing resentment for the two bottles of ginger ale I'd stuffed in my
Assorted Twittering and then texting back and forth established that jld was at the very tippy end of the pier. I joined him; he had cunningly staked out a seat on the benches! He confessed that he felt a little underdressed for the occasion. I took his meaning quickly -- while the park in inland Pacifica had been over-hot, the pier was foggy and there was a substantial wind chill. And to think that I had been worried about overheating at the pier too, and not brought that blanket! Since I was wearing my usual skirt-shirt-and-sweater ensemble, I produced my windbreaker from the bottom of my bag (bright pink and white and black) and soon Jed was toastily zipped up. After a certain amount of experimentation, I found that the pink and white striped towel I'd intended as a possible seat if we were to be in the Park of Last Resort tied neatly over my head, and the black gloves that live in my windbreaker pocket, were sufficient to keep me at a non-miserable temperature.
The boys arrived, and set out on a quest for food. Jed and I chattered cheerfully; I texted my sandwich order to JD. The fireworks were to start at 9:30. It was 8:20, and the boys were not back. Jed went forth on a quest for the bathroom. The boys returned -- there had been an enormous line. I set out for the bathroom. The line for the ladies' was long; the line for the mens' was ... also long. They merged somewhere far back. As I waited, there was a random medical emergency; from the chatter on the police radio (4 cops came at a dead run, clearing the way efficiently) the guy had a history of seizures. The entrance to the ladies' is still complete fail.
I rejoined the boys and Jed just before 9. (Yes, that's how long the line actually was.) They had obeyed my tweeted advice to avail themselves of the contents of my bags, and were contentedly slurping down the contents of the giant Pixy Stix. (Is that a Pixy Stick in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?) More funtimes were had waiting for the fireworks. We saw Sausolito's fireworks first, to our happiness. Somewhat bafflingly, there was applause when a flock of seagulls flew overhead. Twice.
There were two synchronized fireworks shows. The fog had started to come in, so the higher-flying fireworks disappeared into the fog, their subtleties lost but the fog lighting up in a giant diffusion of glory. One show was from a barge on the water; the other show was on a hill. Some loudmouth in the crowd, behind us and to our right as we stood facing the water, said that he could have stayed in Oakland and seen better fireworks. Some other loudmouth in the crowd suggested that perhaps he should do just that, immediately. Verbal mutual race-, and many other kinds of, -fail ensued.
Between the fireworks, the hilarity of the fireworks interacting with the fog, the idiot behind us suggesting that perhaps this or that low-in-the-sky shot was height-adjusted on the fly (pray tell, sir, do you think that they can suddenly subtract from the amount of propellant in those skyrockets as they're wired up and ready to go?), the *fail brothers snapping at each other and saying some truly outlandish things, JD being goofy and Jed bopping him on the head with an empty plastic Pixy Stick tube ... good times. Many good times. JD busted out the ginger ale and we found the M&Ms in the fail bag, and I had brought cherries as well. Good times.
There were some very fun fireworks. There was a box. There were some hearts; those got an "Aww!" from the crowd. One of the hearts came out sideways. "A less-than-three!" I giggled. There was a pair of concentric circles in red. No prize for guessing what the internet gutterminds thought of. The smily-faces were fun.
When the finale hit, there was applause. People began to disperse. I sat down; we collected ourselves and waited for the crowd to thin out. We went, at length, to the arcade. JD tried a very frustrating round of DDR, but the machine was b0rked. We proceeded exitward, having parted from Jed along the way. We decided what bus to take. This resulted in some meandering about attempting to find the best place. Quite a bit. We finally espied an 8x in traffic; JD ran ahead to inquire whether it was headed our way and taking on passengers. Yes! We caught up to it (not hard: the traffic was going nowhere) and hopped on.
It took the bus about an hour to make its way through the streets back going the other way on the street where we'd found it. We were glad that we'd got on board when we did. Suddenly, the bus was crowded. The driver said to move on back. So a little short dynamo of a drunken woman began to push her way back through the crowd, intent on somewhere in the ass end of the bus. Due to her shoving, a pretty, and very obviously gay, guy landed in my lap. This was merely the prelude to hilarity involving him and his two friends. He was the loud one. One of his friends was less ... intoxicated or something ... and kept sending apologetic looks around. The loud guy declared the bus first a rave and then an orgy, because everyone was so jammed together. He slammed his hips up tight with his taller, shirt-half-unbuttoned quieter buddy's. Then he decided that because the bus was so crowded, that someone (possibly him) might get fisted due to the close quarters. I found myself unable to stop giggling. They eventually got off.
It was getting late. Once we were out of the worst traffic, the bus driver began going faster; once we were out of the thickest bits of the city, the driver decided to make up for lost time. One of these moments involved Ryan's hand wrapped around the metal pole, and my nose almost banging straight into it. "You fisted my nose!" quoth I. "I think that's called punching," quoth he.
They had a tight connection to their bus. I braved the horrible horrible Balboa Park elevator, and happily got down to the platform just two minutes before a homebound train appeared. Yay!