A Far From Normal Vacation

San Francisco BayEvery year in June, my beloved John has a trip to some fabulous place. I always look forward to these opportunities and this year was no exception. We were headed to San Francisco on Friday morning to meet another couple and spend all day Saturday exploring the city. I was packed and ready on Thursday evening when John returned home with the unexpected news that our flight was not at 9:30AM but was at 9:30PM. I tried to be kind while my mind wondered how I would do with a 2:00AM (our time) arrival time.

Despite having told my friends goodbye the previous day, I called and begged for an invitation to the group lunch scheduled for Friday. When I mentioned to my friend Kelly the “major crisis” I considered the time change to be, she said:

No, this is a minor crisis.  A major crisis would be if John thought the plane left at 9:30PM and it really left at 9:30AM.  Then you would be screwed.

I decided Kelly was right, and I decided to make the best of the bad situation. Maybe I could sleep on the plane.

Since John likes to be on time for everything, we arrived at the airport three hours early. Okay, I could get a great start on my new book. See what a great job I was doing of making the best of a bad situation?

When we finally got on the plane, I noticed that most of the other passengers had recently been on a work-release program, or at least that’s how they looked. We were packed in like sardines, and I suddenly began to understand my son’s fear of flying.

After what seemed like many hours, we arrived safely at the San Francisco Airport and I was looking forward to getting to the hotel. Unfortunately, John had other plans. After we de-planed and grabbed our bags from baggage claim, I headed toward the shuttles. John said:

Our friends will be coming in pretty soon. Why don’t we wait for them?

Now, while I am usually the first one ready to meet and greet friends, 2:00AM is not my best time. I put down my suitcase and crumbled into an uncomfortable plastic chair.

I’ll wait here.

I announced. John rounded up the friends and we all took the shuttle to the hotel…about 3AM according to my time!

On Saturday, we were up early and ready to see the San Francisco sights. I suggested Chinatown, Fisherman’s Wharf, and Grace Cathedral. We went through Chinatown like our hair was on fire. Honestly, Sherman’s March to the Sea had more stops. By the time we got to the Cathedral, I was starved. I managed to find a small coffee shop in the basement of the building about three flights down (take the elevator, if you go), and I purchased a bottle of water and a granola bar. We walked many miles and visited City Lights bookstore, which was very cool.

The Birds

Lunch was at a Chinese restaurant near City Lights, and then we were off to Fisherman’s Wharf. What could possibly go wrong at Fisherman’s Wharf you may be asking? Well, we were sitting on a bench resting when someone dropped a giant bag of popcorn. Pigeons began flying in from all parts of California. They swooped and flew and landed until I was almost insane. It was like a scene from Alfred Hitchcock’s movie “The Birds.”

I have suffered from ornithophobia (which is a fancy name for a fear of birds) all of my life. I believe this aversion to birds came as a result of the many hours I spent as a baby in a baby buggy on a porch outside while my mother drank or slept (see, all Far From Normal stories always lead back to Mother and her bad behavior). Anyway, we left the city and returned to the general vicinity of our hotel. We concluded the evening by having an extremely mediocre meal.

Thus ended Day One of the Far From Normal vacation.


  1. Other Mary says:

    Anxiously waiting for………..”And now for the rest of the rest of the story.” Other Mary

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