At the time (1993), I was living in Tampa, Florida. My friend, Jeff, had invited me out to San Francisco California to hang out. So I made hasty and ill-conceived plans to visit Jeff over the weekend. That’s right, I was flying 3000 miles across the country to stay in SF for three measly days. It wasn’t smart.
I flew to San Francisco for a weekend.
The journey started with a flight to Los Angeles. I crashed at my buddy, Barry’s place in LA, and forced his Significant Other to feed us. On Friday, I went to see the office where Barry no longer works, to do lunch. (Since then he moved to a more lucrative job and, hopefully, an office that doesn’t double as a filing cabinet.)
We drive three hours up the gut of California.
After work, we drove three hours north to eat at the world-famous Harris Ranch, a fabulous steakhouse place surrounded by a lot of smelly, vile, manure-producing, cows—and evidently, very clueless cows.
We assumed you could choose the particular beast you wanted to eat, kinda like choosing a lobster. (We were not, unfortunately, as draining the blood takes a while, and we just didn’t have that kind of time.) Inside the restaurant, however, they used some kind of alien technology or olfactory-masking technique to rid the dining areas of that refreshingly pungent aroma—it was a very impressive ventilation system.
We drive another three hours north to San Francisco.
After giving our digestive acids something substantial to wrestle with for the next three weeks, we continued the rest of our six-hour drive to one of Barry’s college friends who lived just outside San Francisco California. Dave was a very nice guy with a few too many major appliances lying around.
We did the sleeping on the floor thing that night, and the next morning, arose noisily and loaded a washer/dryer combo into his truck before driving into the city. After only limited confusion, Barry and I were able to locate our mutual friend Jeff’s apartment.
We arrive in San Francisco California, USA.
We immediately left the apartment and went on what Jeff’s wife calls, more colorfully, the “Back-East Conservative Tour of San Francisco” by car (not to be confused with my own driving tour of San Francisco). This tour unavoidably involved a passable imitation of the new Busch Garden rollercoaster, Kumba®.
Believe me, San Francisco California has some serious hills.
No, no, let me reiterate. San Francisco has some really serious hills—if you haven’t been here, you don’t know what a hill is. We are talking 60-degree inclines easily—I am not exaggerating (Editor’s note: I am exaggerating a little). And not only do people build condos at this rather inconvenient angle, but they park on the street in front! (Pro Tip: don’t forget to set the hand brake.)
After The Tour, we stopped at a local drinking establishment and began a 12-hour long alcoholic haze. (As a result, the following recollections may be vague and incomplete.) We began imbibing Saturday at around 2:00pm (11:00am EST), starting slowly at first with beer, while we learned a new drinking game using shots.
Once they took effect, we wandered through the streets of San Francisco California loudly singing bawdy songs and firing off rounds at anyone with a dubious sexual preference.
No, actually we went from bar to bar, occasionally stopping to dance or eat (we wanted to have something colorful to throw up the next morning). At one point, we ended up in Slim’s, a bar that Boz Scaggs once owned, and who, according to the bartender, was actually in the bar a mere two hours prior. I cursed my bad luck, knowing we should have started drinking earlier. C’est la vie, I guess (oh, look it up).
After several more hours, we somehow ended up on a watercraft of some kind. A few of Jeff’s friends were on the boat and, since they had beer, I didn’t ask questions.
This is when things got weird.
Then, again somehow, we ended up back on the street, at which point one of Jeff’s female friends who had accompanied us started pulling off Barry’s trousers. This was successfully accomplished and now we, plus a number of passers-by, all know a little bit more about Barry than any of us really wanted to (and I do mean “a little”).
At around 12:30am (3:30am EST), Jeff and I decided discretion was the better part of vomiting, and grabbed a cab back to his place. Barry, who at this point was in no condition to drive, continued to drink.
To hear Jeff’s female compatriots’ lawyers tell it, they had “one more for the road” and stuffed Barry’s walking corpse, by then, fully clothed, into a taxi and sent him home. I was sound asleep on a very comfortable sofa when the doorbell rang. And rang. And rang and rang.
Barry isn’t dead, after all.
Finally, realizing Quasimodo was not about to stop by anytime this century, I staggered out to the front door and discovered Barry leaning his head against the doorbell. I let him in and went back to the couch. Barry, went for the floor—not that he had planned on it, it just kind of happened.
Our last day in San Francisco California.
The next day, he got up early and went for the bathroom, where he spent a good part of the morning re-experiencing San Francisco’s fine cuisine and checking for rust stains. As the morning progressed, almost everyone we had encountered the day before appeared at Jeff’s door, and began an activity known as “rotting.” This consisted of sitting on a couch, sofa or floor, downing Advil® continuously, moaning softly, and reading the Sunday paper. It was such an enjoyable pastime, we spent the rest of the day doing it.
Barry eventually recovered and left to drive back to LA at around 4:00pm, presumably sober by then, but still not too keen on solid food. Finally, at about 7:00pm (10:00pm EST), I caught a cab to the San Francisco California airport and caught the red-eye back to Tampa. I arrived at 6:00am EST, went home and slept.
The next morning, I was only an hour late for work (every day for the next month).