A Marathon of Our Own

This last Sunday Alf and I had a Bay to Breakers experience of our own.

We drove into the city where Alf dropped me off at work while he went to the beach to wait until I was finished. It was the Bay to Breakers marathon run with the city streets swollen with more cars and traffic and he was anxious about parking. But he got lucky and was able to find a spot a block away from the ocean, in a good neighborhood, on that sunny morning with a cool breeze.

An hour and a half later, he called.

“The car’s been stolen,” he said out of breath. “I’ve looked everywhere.”

“Call the cops,” I said. IMG_0130

He did. They told him every officer in the city was on duty for the run and nobody was available to come and take a report. Would he please go to the nearest police station?

That police station was more than two miles away.

Alf walked there while I finished my work and then a colleague dropped me off.

The station was in a relic of a building, well preserved, but institutional and cold inside. By the time I arrived Alf was finishing up with the report.

“We’ll call you if we find your car,” the police officer said with pity in her eyes.

Not likely. It’s probably on its way to Tijuana.

I made a quick mental inventory of the things left in the car and concluded I could live without them. Alf, on the other hand, was going to miss his cool dark glasses, his jacket, and the Fastrak tag. With that alone the thief could crisscross every bridge in California on our dime.

We called our insurance company, they sprung for a car rental, and we drove home.

An hour later Alf got the call.

“We found your car. You have 20 minutes to come get it otherwise we take it to the impound lot. Make sure you get a release form from the police station where you filed the report.” Click.

So off we went back into the city, back to the police station to get the form. By now it was 9 o’clock at night.

From there we drove to the impound lot, or tried to. It was impossible to find for the first hour. Then we spotted it. It was tucked under the freeway in a darkened lot. We walked in. Another woman in the waiting area was talking loudly on her cell phone.

“My car was stolen and I’m waiting for the police to get here so I can get it back,” she said.

We wondered how many other cars were stolen that day. It must have been good pickings with all the runners and tourists in town.

We showed the release form to the clerk at the counter. She examined it, then went to her computer screen, then frowned.

“You need a stamp on this,” she said.

“A what?” I said. This reminded me of life in Mexico. Did we need to slip her some money?

“Without the stamp we can’t release your car,” she said.

It was now 10:30 at night. I wanted to come around to her side and strangle her.

“Where do we get this stamp?” Alf said holding me back with his arm.

“A police station,” she said.

“There’s a perfectly good one right across the street,” I said.

“That won’t work, you’ll have to go to this one,” she said as she slipped a piece of paper across the counter to us. “Not all police stations have the stamp.”

Now I was convinced we were in another country.

The piece of paper gave us directions for walking, driving or taking public transportation there.

We climbed into the rental and followed the driving directions. What looked like a quick trip across town on paper turned into a nightmare of going in circles of barricaded and one-way streets. It took us another hour to spot the station. I stayed in the car and locked myself in. It felt like I was in a war zone. Alf went in and came back with the famous stamp on the release paper.

We returned to the impound lot, handed over the release paper, and got processed quickly. We walked through an outside fenced-in corridor that looked like it belonged in a high-security prison and stopped at a closed gate. A security guard appeared, we handed him the release paper, and he unlocked the gate and escorted us to our car.

We stood there amazed.

Nothing was missing inside. Not a scratch on the outside either.

The guard shook his head.

“That doesn’t happen,” he said. “Usually it’s just a shell.”

It was midnight now. I climbed back into the rental to return it to the airport, the only office still open. Alf followed me in our car.

We drove home in silence with a ton of questions and no answers in both our heads.

Calvin says, “Next time come into the city on roller blades.” beagle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So It’s Raining

Finally.

It’s been raining cats and dogs.

Mostly cats.

They’ve been under my window at night hissing and booing.

Every day there’s a parade of them sniffing my bushes around the house. Black, white, grey and the occasional tortoise. They prance along with tails high. They learn who’s been there. Then they leave the next memoir installment detailing the gossip of their sordid little lives for the others to stay current.

To my knowledge there’s hasn’t been a runaway best seller yet.

They’re not too happy this week.

The daily Feline Gazette has been watered down from hard core news to sound bites that are water logged and hold no new mews. The social media section has mud caked on its whiskers. The local news, well there isn’t much due to the storms, which has led everybody indoors to lick their paws.

The few still out there got to witness drama in their own backyard last night.cats and dogs

A train derailed through the canyon. A mudslide washed over a portion of the tracks. One of the cars fell over on its side and slid down the embankment and was baptized in the creek. Fortunately no one lost life or limb, a few ended in the hospital but were later released, and most commuters got home without a scratch.

Those intrepid felines who gathered in the trees got to witness the first responders take charge and do their jobs. It was exhilarating. They’ll have an article in the next edition of the Gazette with their by-line.

If it stops raining.

Calvin says, “Cats are stupid. Why go out in the rain when you can burrow under a down comforter and eat bonbons?” beagle

 

 

 

 

Gorgeous in Rags

Riding into work this morning on the subway, a tall blonde got on board.

The car was full so she grabbed a strap and hung on for the ride into the city.

I suspected this was her preferred mode anyway even if the car had been empty.

She was dressed in torn, filthy beige overalls. Her parka had layers of grime on it. Her backpack was vintage muck.

Construction tools spilled out of every pocket. Spiral bound notebooks, too. A pencil.

I looked at her face. She was very pretty. Clear skin, rosy cheeks, bright brown eyes, and she looked freshly scrubbed.  Maybe mid-twenties.electrician

She was one crazy contrast.

I was intrigued.

I got off at my stop and noticed she did, too. We got in line for the escalator. She was in front of me.

I couldn’t resist.

“What kind of work do you do?” I asked from behind.

She looked down, removed her earbuds. “Are you asking me?”

“Yes, I’m curious.”

“I’m an electrician,” she said.

“Oh,” I said.

She smiled. “I know,” she said looking at her clothes.

“Do you like it?”

“I love it!” she said with gusto. “I can get dirty everyday while working on fancy new buildings.”

“How do the others treat you, being you’re in a man’s world?” I asked.

“Fine. Most of them are wimps. They’re all babies, you know.”

We reached the top and said good-bye to each other. She smiled.

Babies. I think she gave herself away.

Calvin says, “Never judge a person by their clothes. Take me for instance. You’d never guess that a cynical, freewheeling, and persnickety heart lurks underneath this silken fur.”  beagle

 

 

Quotes on the Run

Overheard at a coffee shop:

My job is a major interruption to the work that most endears me: the contemplation of myself.

Self-forgetfulness is impossible. How can I forget the most provocative subject in the world? Me.

In a conversation:

Today’s marketing mandate: Give the public what they don’t know they need, and then create a market for it.

Alf’s wisdom:

Dead people don’t change lanes.

From author Anne Perry:  ring

It was beginning to appear that her interesting face covered a most uninteresting mind.

He would look at you as is he were really interested in all you said. He never seemed to be merely polite. It was almost as if he were half expecting you to turn out to be special, and he did not want to miss any opportunity to find out.

From author Ruth Reichl:

Don’t mistake a street address for where you actually live.

From screen diva May West:

It’s better to be looked over than over looked.

Vogue Taylors:
Ladies are welcome to have a fit upstairs.

Anonymous:

People who exercise just die healthier.

Calvin says, “Here’s another one: Dogs that don’t exercise daily die fat and fartsy.” beagle

A Good Address

“The bird spooked my dog and she hid in the closet the rest of the day. When will you be taking it home?” Sonia said to Heather at lunch today.

“I should ask my husband. He doesn’t know yet.”

Hurry,” Sonia said.  IMG_3189

Sonia lives in a Victorian house with her husband and dog one block away from the office. A yellow cockatiel landed on the doorstep last week. It had no identification or passport. It was shivering. Nora, one of the residents, found him and brought him indoors. She bought a cage, food and toys. The bird is thriving in the kitchen with the noise of cooking and the residents talking to it everyday. At night it shares Nora’s bedroom. By the end of the month it should be talking in full sentences.

Tonight,” Heather said.

“Call me,” Sonia said.

If Heather does take it, it will have a swanky life in Tiburon with a view of water and trees to look at, but nobody to talk to. Heather and her husband work all day.

I’m hoping it stays in the Victorian with its fans who already enjoy it’s company. Sonia will just have to teach her dog bird-speak.

Calvin says, “That Burmese Mountain dog is all drama. She needs to get over herself.” beagle

New Digs

El gato has a new home. One of my co-workers and his wife wanted him, so we put him in a carrier and drove him to his new owners last night. He meowed, scratched and complained the whole way. When I lifted him out of the carrier and placed him in the wife’s arms, he scrambled up her arm and nestled into her neck.

A heart-warming scene if there ever was one.

What I didn’t know was that there was a dog in the picture, too. He was shut out in the garage while we did the handover in the living room. I asked what kind of dog they had because the racket he was making at the garage door sounding like he was the size of a bear and I was afraid we’d be taking el gato back home with us.

“He’s a Chihuahua mix,” my co-worker said. IMG_0471

“With that noise?” I said.

“He knows something’s up,” he said.

I’ll say. It sounded like he was throwing himself against the door with all the force of a hurricane.

I had visions of fur flying and hissing and booing the instant the dog was allowed inside the house.

“Don’t worry, they’ll grow up to be friends,” my co-worker said with confidence.

I hope so, otherwise el gato I didn’t want will be back in our lives and we’ll have to give it a name. I’m thinking something like Recurring Rico.

Calvin says, “Quit threatening my peace, will you?” beagle

Mozart Tickles the Brain

Move over Beethoven. Mozart has claimed the number one spot for memory boost.

According to an article in the Daily Mail, listening to Mozart “showed an increase in brain wave activity linked to memory, understanding and problem-solving, researchers found.”
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3112339/How-listening-Mozart-boost-memory-Classical-composer-s-music-linked-increase-brain-wave-activity-beats-Beethoven.html#ixzz3cD9MqqY6
If that’s true, I’m listening to Mozart in every room in the house because I can’t find my glasses.

It will be especially advantageous in the kitchen when I try to remember if it’s one teaspoon of cayenne pepper in the chili or one tablespoon.

Apparently there’s something special in Mozart’s music that stimulates brain wave activity directly related to memory.

Sure beats working on those crossword puzzles. Mozart2

We should pipe in Mozart in every retirement home and senior center around the country.

When my uncle retired, he moved to a senior living community in Las Vegas and joined a local theater group. Then he dropped dead. I suspect he would have had many more years of acting if he had been listening to Mr. M at mealtime.

Researchers used the ‘L’allegro con spirito’ from the Sonata for Two Pianos in D Major by Mozart as their test music piece. This means they’ll be a rash of downloads to people’s smart phones and tablets if they can remember how to do that. The volume of sales will clog up the system and we’ll be forced to buy entire Mozart collections in order to isolate that one piece.

Oh well.

We needed some musical education.
Calvin says, “Download Elvis singing Hound Dog and play it by my food dish.” beagle