Sunday, July 17, 2005


I talked about the blogger meeting, but I’m finally getting around to describing (in three installments) the rest of my…

San Francisco 4th of July Weekend
Part 1: 5 Freeway Fun

Recent surprise family functions (or dysfunctions?) kept my sister and me from properly planning for our cousin’s wedding in SF two weeks ago. By the time we were looking at flights, they were getting too pricey to seem worthwhile. Sometimes, with western locales like Vegas or Northern California, you gotta consider: add up how long it takes racing to and from the airport, the security check-in, that whole “get there an hour and half beforehand” crap, and of course time in the air… it’s nearly 4 hours. You can save $ & drive there in less than 6.

Especially when my sister’s behind the wheel. Julie likes to speed up on the car ahead, then hit the brake if an opening doesn’t appear in the next lane. It must be genetic -- our dad used to make me do the same thing: close my eyes, and try not to think about how I’ll need to replace the brake fluid, and pray that the airbags really work.

Actually, it was cool. The San Joaquin Valley farm country can be picturesque. Heading north, I played DJ with my music CDs (from Sublime to “Superbad”, from Blind Lemon Jefferson to Blind Melon…), and on the way back promised Julie a shiny nickel if she got us home in under 5 hours. As soon as my heart was defibrillated from her overly-aggressive lane-swerving, I gave her a quarter. The whole drive southward, we listened to stand-up comedy CDs -- George Carlin, Lewis Black, and the funniest, Mitch Hedberg. “This jacket is dry-clean only. That means it’s dirty!”

I did do some of the driving… at the scariest part. Julie’s lived up north, so I thought she knew where she was going, but it turned out, we arrived into Oakland… which meant we had to cross the Bay Bridge. I mentioned in the past -- my sister has a phobia about driving over bridges. As we crept up to the tollbooths, she started to panic, saying how she can handle the Golden Gate, it’s straight and wide, and this one isn’t as bad as the serpentine Richmond/San Rafael, which she will not cross, but still, the Bay Bridge turns and goes up then down, and it’s really far, going across Treasure Island in the middle and…

I told her to stop the damn car and switch places with me. She said, “I don’t know that you driving will make me feel any better.” But I insisted.

And she backseat drove the whole way. Considering my sister averaged about 100mph the entire trip, it seemed ironic to hear her say, “Slow down! Stay in the center lane!” I probably didn’t help things by pointing out the sights and acting so flippant. “Michael, stop! I don’t care if you see the Transamerica Building! Keep your eyes on the road! Shut up! We could not survive a fall from here!”


But once in the city, she got her revenge. Julie knew my driving foible: I hate being stopped on a steep incline. (I think the fear originates from a previous car of mine that had little power and no emergency brake. I never knew if I was gonna roll backwards while waiting for the red light to change.) And now I was in the hilliest town in the country. Julie was navigating us to the hotel, and directed me to go up one of those fuckin’ Frisco vertical climbs. No way. I felt the nervous adrenaline rise inside me, cold sweat on my forehead... “Just kidding,” she said, pointing down a flat street. “The hotel’s right there.”

Pretty sneaky, Sis.

Next: Part 2: A Traditional Lesbian Wedding


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