MisAdventure in San Francisco 1974
Heaven’s plane was due in from L.A. at 2:10 p.m. and we told him we’d pick him up between 2:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. so we headed toward the airport at about 2 p.m.. After a brief stop, we rolled into the airport at 3 p.m. Heaven was nowhere to be found so Kathy went to interrogate the airline man about the flight. He said if it wasn’t on the board, it was already in, so we hung out for about half an hour and figured he must have given up and taken a bus. That was the first of a long chain of events that were to take place far into the night we all could have lived without.
Ann was at the bus station waiting for us with a friend of hers named Faye. We picked them up and went over to McArthur Park and started downing Lone Star beer. By 7 p.m. we were all well on our way to a good state of inebriation and just to prove it, Ann was sitting across the table making out with a total stranger. At this point Kathy and I decided it was definitely time to move on. We pried Ann away and headed for the Author’s Benefit Cocktail Party. We snuck by the $5 charge and headed straight for the champagne.
There were many very strange people there and since I had never even heard of any of the authors I soon tired of the elite San Francisco-ites and wandered outside for some fresh air. Ann was close behind but ran into Egburt in the doorway. Now Egburt seemed to be a nice enough man, white hair, a beret, probably in his 60’s. Kathy and I gathered around and seeing the three of us, he decided we should have three charming men to escort us so he told us to wait and he’d be right back with the goods. After about 10 minutes we wandered in to see what he was up to. We found him just inside the door asking random men if they were hetero. Time to move on.
Our next destination was North Beach and a quiet bar. After driving around for quite some time we ended up having to park in front of a fire hydrant. I was driving and being the genius I am, I locked the keys in the car. This was a major disaster because there were no spare keys, no AAA card, not enough money for a locksmith or a tow truck so we had to resort to the coat hanger trick.
I could get the coat hanger in and around the lock but there was absolutely no leverage to pull the knob up. We asked everybody who walked or drove by to help us but nobody could do any better. Where are the criminals when you need them? Ann flagged down a couple of firemen in their little red car and they tried their hand at the coat hanger. A couple of policemen drove by and yelled, “Keep trying, you can do it!’, which really raised our morale a lot. We all found it interesting that nobody mentioned the fire hydrant.
Finally we had to ask the firemen to break one of the windows for us which they did. It was a very sad moment. After clearing the glass out of the back seat we headed straight for Vesuvio’s and a Jack Daniels on the rocks. Vesuvio’s was pretty dead and Kathy and I were starting to fall asleep so we ambled over to The City to get in a little dancing.
On the way over we passed the Mabuhay and Kathy asked the doorman if Heaven was in there. He said yes but it would be impossible to find him. As it turned out if we had been persistent and talked to Heaven, he could have informed us that Suzy was not coming in that night and saved us further torture but we passed him by and trudged forth to The City.
We all got out on the dance floor and did the disco shuffle in a state of mental alienation. After a while I focused in on the people around me and recognized a girl standing next to me. I leaned over and said something and she immediately started to scream and hug me. This was slightly strange but typical of somebody who had gone to my boarding school in Switzerland. After about an hour of getting our frustration out on the dance floor it was time to pick up Suzy at the airport.
At 2 a.m. we searched the airport once again and found no Suzy. I guess it should have been expected considering how the rest of the day had been but we still got bummed out. We were standing around the doorway wondering what to do next when a long-aired hippie type approached us and asked if we would give him a ride to the Haight. Fools that we were, we said yes.
After getting very lost and asking some strange undercover-special-police types we found the place. He invited us in for a drink.
It was 3 am after a very long day. We all walked into this flat and the guy had to wake his friends up because they had all passed out earlier in the evening. As it turned out there was nothing to drink. None of us felt like striking up an interesting conversation at this point. One of the guys kept pumping us for information while a cat curled up in my lap. We got creeped out and left. We decided they probably belonged to some cult and were trying to indoctrinate us.
At about 4 a.m. we piled back into the car and Kathy tried to stay awake for the drive home. We were all happy to fall into bed.
- The Vesuvio Café was famous for attracting Jack Kerouac and the Beat Generation along with other interesting clientele.
- The Mabuhay Gardens was where punk and new wave bands performed during the 1970s.
- The City was a disco usually full of gay men but a great place to go dancing.
Kathleen Gamble was born and raised overseas and has traveled extensively. She has a BA in Spanish and has worked in publishing, printing, desktop publishing, translating, and purchasing. She also designs and creates her own needlepoint. She started journaling at a young age and her memoir, Expat Alien, came out of those early journals. Over the years she has edited and produced an American Women’s Organization cookbook in Moscow, Russia, and several newsletters. Her first book, Expat Alien, was published in 2012 and she recently published a cookbook, 52 Food Fridays, both available on Amazon.com. You can also follow her blog at ExpatAlien.com.