Saturday, August 20, 2005

Birthday Card Quote of the Day

Yes, yes. In the slightly amended words of Chuck Berry's "Sweet Little Sixteen" 'They're really rockin in Dublin, and Pittsburg P.A., Deep in the Heart of Belfast, at the Errigle Inn...'

But as I'm here 'round the Frisco Bay, I'm getting ready for an annual Birthday Party of a friend that will need all of the next day and beyond from which to recover.

There was the question of the birthday card. Looking through our stack, we settled on a lovely card with an image that seemed perfect for the lady being feted this day. Trouble was: it was blank. Some form of literary creativity would be required. Having none on hand, we settled for using someone else's literary creativity: a quotation.

This led to the discussion of what to quote.

The husband said "What did Ben Franklin have to say about Birthdays?"

Tempted by the thought of something from the "Older Women are Better at Sex" essay that Mr. Franklin bequeathed to a grateful world, my fingers hovered over the blank Google bar. But then:

"What about Mark Twain?" I asked.

The husband rallied with "What about Oscar Wilde?"

Now we were talking! A quick google to find a page of Oscar Wilde quotes soon led to us contemplating the following possible birthday sentiments:

A man's face is his autobiography. A woman's face is her work of fiction.

The husband said "It's good, but not quite birthday."

At 46 one must be a miser; only have time for essentials.

The husband said "We don't know if she's 46. We may be under the mark, which would be disasterous."

As long as a woman can look ten years younger than her own daughter, she is perfectly satisfied.

The husband approved of the sentiment but pointed out there was no daughter in this particular picture. And then:

Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future.

The husband: "I LIKE it!"

And so there was our quote, which we followed with "Happy Birthday Rachel, May your future be bright!"

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Up in the mornin' and out to school

Went to Sam's Anchor Cafe yesterday for an early dinner. With views of the Tiburon yacht club and harbor, Angel Island, the Golden Gate Bridge, the City and Alcatraz, Sam's outdoor deck is the place to be on a summer evening. And I always love making the entrance through the bar upfront: a stucco-walled and checkerboard square linoleum-floored spot that hasn't been remodelled since 1962. Whatever song is playing on the jukebox, it is always a great song. Even if it is a song I normally hate.

(Sam's is immortalized in Cyra McFadden's Serial, a satire of local life which first appeared in the Pacific Sun. It has its own footnote in literary history, as it prompted the San Francisco Chronicle to hire Armistead Maupin to whip out a City based version of the same, which he did and called Tales of the City.)

Yesterday, while angling to catch the hostess's eye and get our names down for what seemed like a long wait, we ran into John Trimble and wife. John organizes the traditional music session that meets each week at Saint Isabella's in Terra Linda. He's also managed to get us into a San Rafael pub. A flash of guilt reminded me that John had been looking for volunteer musicians for Angel Island's history days. And there he was in his Docent jacket, obviously wrapping up a day at the Park Musuem. "I really wanted to go John! But today was our regular monthly massages and tomorrow is the Aloha Festival! Next year! And I'll be there Tuesday night!"

Then John and his wife introduced a woman in the group as their daughter Virginia. Polite greetings all around.

Then Virginia said "Your face looks familiar..."

"I'm sure we've met at one of your dad's things," I said.

"Maybe. Did you go to TL?"

Ah, crap. High school. Does it never end?

"Yeah, I went to TL. And you?"

Affirmative nod. "What year did you graduate?"

"In '81."

Pleased she's made the connection, "Yeah! that's when I was there."

"Oh, so you were Virginia...(mental grab for her dad's last name) Trimble!"

Now the thing was: did we know each other back then? I tried placing her in a Gunne Sax skirt or Gloria Vanderbilt jeans and Candies or a cotton India-print smock. Nothing was coming through. And one can't very well ask "Okay, then. Were you a geek? Or one of the jocks and cheerleaders who made the lives of geeks like me miserable?" But there are ways to discern.

"I was with the English and Drama crowd" I said. "What about you?"

"Yes! I hung out with some of them in the ampitheatre."

"Last three rows? Center Section?"


Bingo. Last three rows, center section: Geeks' Ghetto.

"Remember it was painted like a rainbow?"

"Oh yeah!"

I was now ready to settle happily into the investigation of which English teacher she had and delve into other memories, but at that moment, our table was ready.