As often happens in the summer, the Golden Gate Bridge was so fogged in that you couldn’t see most of the towers, let alone the ocean, the city, or the Bay. I was disappointed on Jessica’s behalf, since she was so looking forward to the view. I hope she got to see it on her way home.

By the time we passed the Presidio, we were out of the fog. No matter how long I live in or around San Francisco, the microclimates will never cease to amaze me.

Erica decided to drive down Union Street, a well-known and expensive shopping district near my former residence. I hadn’t been there in a while, being unable to support the economy in the style to which I used to be accustomed, and it was fun to see which stores were still there and which were different.

Erica noticed that there was actually a parking space in front of one of our favorite stores, Lush. Not only that, but there were 28 precious minutes left on the meter! It was too good to resist.

We drifted into the store on wafts of delicious fragrance, and were greeted by a charming French guy who spent the next half hour flirting with Erica as we sniffed and envied our way around. One of the great things about Lush is that you can try some of the products, so Jessica and I had fun trying things and splashing around in the basins provided. Somehow, we both ended up with glitter on our noses.

Erica told me to pick out something and she’d buy it for me. I was astonished – surely driving me home and letting me play with Jessica was enough for anyone! But she put her arm around me and said, “I know how much you miss shopping.” I was incredibly touched. In the end, she gave me all these things:

  • Sugar scrub (which I used to scrub off the country dirt when I got home, though my long-suffering sandals may never be the same);
  • A tiny pot of Potion solid perfume (spicy, delicious carnation scent);
  • Sexy Peel soap (selected by Jessica); and
  • Eau Roma water (get it?), which was perfect for a sunburned face.

When I thanked Erica, she said simply, “You needed some luxury,” and gave me a hug.