good weekend

So much for working on the house this weekend; Bryan called on Saturday morning, just as we were waking up, and we looked at each other and out the window at the glorious sunny day, and that was the end of us as responsible grown-ups. We had breakfast at Progressive Grounds; I had the wonderful smoked salmon bagel with capers, and Cian and Claire had ….veggie booty. Sigh. Then we drove to the beach and spent the laziest day ever at the zoo: carousel, playground, cafe. Exotic animals seen: one free-roaming peacock, and some flamingos, asleep.

That evening we caught up with Kat and Ian and our NEW NEIGHBOURS Roy and Courtney at Spicy Bite, a pretty decent Indian place that is now LOCAL FOR ALL OF US, because Roy and Courtney have moved to Glen Park WOO. They drove over three thousand miles from Rochester, New York without incident, only to be rear-ended on their way back from the Emeryville Ikea. People, this is why we named the East Bay Pig Latin for beast.

Ian told us about Pakistan, and how he dressed like a local and sped around on a tiny motorbike conversing in his cab-driver Urdu, and how he caught the steam train up to the Khyber Pass, where the hills have numbers on them to make them easier to bomb, and where he was stung six times by wasps, on his butt, in his side and on his nipple.

“It was sensitive for years after that,” he said, twirling his fingers over his nipple.

“And we know it was his right nipple, because whenever he tells the story with that gesture he always does it on that side,” said Kat.

I asked if he missed Pakistan, and he said rather sadly: “I do, but it’s not there any more. My Pakistan only existed for a few years in the nineties, before the military coup.”

We drank beer, we drank chai, we discussed anime and Internet porn, sorry, erotica, and the relative merits of the Hitachi Magic Wand. The child-free, they still go out dancing and stuff! It’s nice to know that that world still exists.

Sunday morning Salome called us to make sure we were awake, but we were late to brunch anyway. After getting high as a kite on Scharffenberger hot chocolate, I drove to Aquatic Park under the delusion that I was going to walk around the lake. We made it about fifty feet before I needed a relaxing sit-down, so we gave up and went to the playground.

It’s Claire’s favourite playground in all the world, not so much because of the completely awesome equipment, all volunteer-built from reclaimed materials, as because the Amtrak line runs immediately behind it, and Claire is passionately fond of her trains.

“We should get you a notebook so you can write down the engine numbers,” said Jeremy.

“Yeah, and an anorak,” I said.

“Too hot for anoraks,” said Jeremy.

“Notebook?” said Claire hopefully.

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned that when I drop Jeremy off at CalTrain on Fourth and King, we tell Claire he’s going to work on the train. Now Claire thinks he works on trains, which… well, she’s the daughter and grand-daughter and great-grand-daughter of engineers, so it’s not at all surprising really.

From Aquatic Park we drove to the Pacific Film Archive; Recheng had persuaded us to take Claire to see My Neighbor Totoro on the big screen, even though we watch it practically every day on DVD. It was amazing. I’d never really thought about the differences between TV screens and computer screens and film projection before Chris got his job at Filmlight and started working with a brilliant colour scientist. Totoro is beautiful any way you look at it, but in a high-quality projection in a small, completely dark cinema, it’s Paradise.

Claire was utterly enchanted, sitting bolt upright on my lap, until the credits rolled and the lights came up, and then, realizing that the experience was over, she burst into tears and cried inconsolably.

Yep, she’s my daughter all right.

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