Below post will only make sense to those who’ve read my tales.
So Brett & I are boarding the plane at Dallas-Ft Worth, easing into our seats, cramming our overstuffed carryons into the bin. It was one of the bigger planes, a 737; we had window seats. I glance towards the center rows, and stop. Just…stop. Sitting there, one of my story-characters, Abel, in real life, complete with his wife and young toddler. Blond surfer dude, red shirt, khaki shorts; the toddler’s in his lap, and Abel’s playing with him, shaking his head so his hair goes every-which-way, then bumping foreheads with his toddler son, who breaks into squealing, delighted giggles each time. His wife, dark and lovely, either Romany or Latino, is smiling and wrestling the diaper bag into the overhead bin.
The flight takes off; my ears pop from the too-fast rise of pressure. The toddler’s giggles dissolve into crying — that pressure is painful. Abel and his wife spend a lot of the flight soothing the baby, until, finally, somewhere over Arizona, the exhausted child falls asleep. The parents look just as haggard and exhausted, and they fall asleep too, leaning in towards each other so their heads touch, the child cradled between them, an exhausted, contented triangle of family.
We land in SF; we’re too tired to do much, even though the sun’s still up. We settle for exploring the immediate Fisherman’s Wharf area, snagging a bowl of clam chowder, a bit of bread from another vendor, snack here, munch there. People, too much people, too many good smells; I’m caught up in watching people, homeless people, all their belongings stuffed into backpacks and carts, signs out begging for help or just curled under tons of blankets and old sleeping bags against walls. Street performers, mimes, jazz musicians, guitarists, breakdancers, tap dancers, with their tip jars out.
Brett nudges me — look, there. Across the street, standing by an old-time arcade machine with a wooden fortune-teller gypsy inside the glass (THE MIGHTY ZOLTAR!!), a trio of ragged young men, one a shaggy, scruffy bohemian blond in a huge green-plush top hat; Dylan, from the tales, again come to life. And he and his friends are holding a sign…”We need $$$ for weed!!”
Almost gave them a buck; hell, at least they were honest about where the money was going to go.
Third shock, yesterday. We traveled the Muni, up through Castro, watching the old Victorians (PINK??) and bright rainbow flags and new-old feel; heading for the Academy of Sciences. We’re wandering again, playing with exhibits, playing with camera, settling down for a bite to eat in the glass-enclosed patio area, basking in the sunshine, watching little chirpy birds squabble over potato chips that folks were tossing to them.
I glance over…and see Vao walking towards the empty table near us. 18-19, a skinny runt, shoulder-length black hair, expressive grinning eyes, big beak of a nose, Asian/Latino, hasn’t shaved today, dressed in a ragged concert shirt from some local SF band…and even more freaky, his parents are with him, just as I’d pictured/described them, father a big, meaty man, grey-white hair chopped into crew-cut and weather-worn, heavy-tanned skin; mother a smaller, slender dark-haired woman, hair caught up in a gold-clasp to one side of her head.
Now I’m waiting for Rafe & Ian. Just waiting.