It has been a day.
I had to have a minor diagnostic procedure this morning, after which I was going up to San Francisco to meet a friend to go see the Walker Evans exhibit at SFMoMA. As I was leaving the doctor’s my friend told me she was ill and wouldn’t be able to go to the museum after all.
With the Rocket Scientist’s encouragement, I went up to the city anyway. Caltrain is a pleasant way to travel, for the most part.
Once there, I realized that I desperately needed to eat. I started to go to a Panera, when I realized that eating at a Panera while in a foodie city like SF is silly. Instead, I went to a local sandwich shop — the cheese steak was okay, but I would have eaten healthier at the Panera.
I had a brief moment of panic when I thought I had lost my wallet, but once that was resolved I headed for Golden Gate Park and the De Young. Taking Muni from the train station to the park took me through beautiful neighborhoods with the gingerbread houses the city is known for.
I decided once I was there that it was too beautiful a day to spend wandering around a museum. I did go to the museum cafe, however, and enjoyed delicious albeit overpriced flourless chocolate cake and a clementine San Pellegrino.
While there, I got a call from a dear friend from Wellesley. We talked politics (as we usually do), and especially the Nunes memo. She’s a lawyer and brings a lawyer’s sensibilities to discussing the current state of the nation, which is always interesting. While on the phone she told me that another Wellesley friend of ours had dredged up an incriminating picture from my freshman year. It showed several students of various years standing in front of a Rodin called Running Man which we had um….. augmented. It was snowy — as I recall, it was finals week and we were all a little punchy. Campus police removed our vandalism shortly after we put it up.
After hanging up, I left the cafe and headed to the Japanese Tea Garden. While not as extensive as the garden in Balboa Park in San Diego, it was still beautiful and almost peaceful.
I do not hold the view that children should be sequestered from the world. That said, if your five-year-old is pitching a fit because you won’t let her climb down without your help from a structure she should not have been climbing on in the first place, you should grab her and leave. Those screams echoing throughout the park tend to disrupt the zen atmosphere. Of course, so do the adults who talk and laugh loudly and who block the walkways while they fuss around taking selfies.
I found a bench and was able to calm and center myself.
I was listening to NPR the other day, and the guest was asked if they believed in miracles. They (I can’t remember the name, or even the program, sorry) said while they didn’t believe in grand miracles they did in small miracles, the sort no one pays attention to. Since then I have been looking out for the small miracles in my life. The Tea Garden was one. What happened next was another.
I was supposed to meet the Rocket Scientist in North Beach. This meant that I need to change from Muni to a bus near the Embarcadero station.
511.org, while useful up to a point, totally fails at giving walking directions. Thus I was walking down Montgomery Street, doing something I never do (with good reason): looking at my phone while I was walking.
The totally foreseeable happened — I tripped on a grate in the side wall and fell. Hard. Hard enough to knock the wind out of me, throw my backpack off my back, and break my glasses (it was only later that the pain in my ankle started).
That was not the miracle.
The miracle came in the form of two angels named Keith and Liz, who helped me to a set of stairs where I could sit, and who stayed with me while I tried to recover and stop crying. They were strangers not only to me but to each other, but they cared enough for a random somebody who was in pain to stop and help. Keith insisted on getting me an Uber, and refused my offer of payment. Robert, the Uber driver, found me a cafe in North Beach.
And so I am sitting here in front of Alimento (507 Columbus, great gelato, nice people — check it out when you’re in North Beach) typing this. And in spite of my injured ankle (and the back which is starting to throb), I am at peace with the world.
My faith in humanity has been restored.