Well, my last day in the City did not go exactly as planned.
I packed my bags and the car and otherwise managed to kill a couple of post conference call hours in the early morning. Around 9:30, I set off for Swan Oyster Depot, knowing that they open early. What did not know is they don’t start counter service until 10:30, a new and unwelcome scheduling change.
I walked back to the modest motel, stopping in at Bob’s doughnuts on my way:
I checked out, packed the final few things in the car, and headed back to Swan’s, parking the car in a garage around the corner. It was about 10:45 at this point, so I was kind of shocked by the length of the line at Swan’s. It used to be that if you got there before 11, you’d be OK, but apparently that has gone the way of early morning counter service.
Figuring on a half hour’s wait, I was wrong – it was closer to an hour, but by then, I’d invested so much time, there was no way I was going to leave. Eventually, I perched on a tiny, uncomfortable stool, elbow to elbow with total strangers, and ordered a half cracked crab, which comes with sourdough* and butter and a smile.
It was sparkling fresh, as always, and I enjoyed the ballet behind the counter, as the brothers cracked crabs, shucked oysters, poured wine, and rang up bills – one of the charming things about eating there is telling your server what you had, which he rings up on an old cash register – in the narrow space.
After that, I picked up some extreme take-out from Victor’s:
and headed to the Legion of Honor to the Cult of Beauty exhibit:
where the views of the Bridge:
and the City:
and Sutro Tower:
Inside, not so much. Another line to buy a ticket, much like an airport check in line, where those ahead of me took forever and I took about 30 seconds. How can it take so long to buy a ticket? Arriving at the exhibit, another line to get in, and then I was awash in hordes of tweens, chasing each other around, screaming, giggling, texting – anything but actually looking at the priceless works of art. Not for the first time, I congratulated myself on steadfastly refusing to reproduce.
Despite the tweenage horrors, the exhibit was full of lovely things. My favorites were a chair designed by Sir Lawrence Alta-Tadema (who knew he designed furniture as well as being a painter) in 1884, much more fabulous than any photo could capture:
A remarkably modern tea set made by the gifted Christopher Dresser in 1879:
And of course, Whistler’s Battersea Bridge Nocturne.
By the time I got on the Bridge, the Giants’ home opener was already in progress, and I listened to Matt Cain pitch a one hit shutout, 5-0, against the PIttsburgh Pirates as I headed back to Hooterville.
The sun vanished when I was a few miles over the County line, and there were some showers before I arrived home and greeted the kitties. They definitely missed me. Yesterday, the boys chose sitting with me over playing in the sun, and Audrey, never the most demonstrative of cats, sat on my lap all evening instead of going outside. I’m officially more fun than the Great Outdoors!
*It’s from Boudin’s Bakery, but they bake it longer for Swan’s, so the crust is dark and crispy. I highly recommend it. And remember: you pronounce it Bo-DEENS.