I keep saying San Jose when in reality, the time spent in SJ was very short compared to the time spent in The City, i.e. San Francisco. Early Sunday morning, Diana and I drove to Brad’s house and got there punctually at 8:30a. I got to see his house, meet his beagle Chloe (who tricked me into bending down and petting her and then she knocked me over and jumped on me and gave me French kisses), and meet his roommates. Then he drove us to meet up with other athletic friends of Diana’s at Crissy Park near the Bay Bridge to go to Muir Woods and do a hike. We got to Crissy Park at 9:30, the agreed-upon time, and I marveled at how punctual everyone else was who all pulled up to the lot about the same time, despite the necessary detours made because a major street, Market, was closed for the Gay Pride Parade (SF is so colorful, and not just because of the rainbow-colored flags adorning the buildings). A group of 8 on-time Asian people! Unheard of!

The original plan was to do a 5-mile hike through Muir Woods down to Stinson Beach, hang out at the beach, and hike 5 miles back. Partway through the hike, however, we realized that it was taking too long, and Brad needed to get back in time for his volleyball game and I needed to catch a late flight.

So we did the shortened version: a 6 mile hike which had us tripping over tree roots, poking at nasty 6-inch banana slugs, falling on our bleeding palms. My calves are STILL sore.

At one point, the 8 of us were in a row winding around a narrow mountain path, and Brad suggested that we should all sing something. No one had any ideas on a song singable that we all know. I suggested Sir Mixalot’s Baby Got Back, but only 2 of us knew most of the words. So we trudged on in silence, until somewhere ahead of me, I heard the whistling of a tune… it was “Heigh-ho, heigh-ho, it’s off to work we go,” from Snow White and the 7 Dwarves.

Another funny thing to stick out in my head was when I was the last one in the row, and for some reason they’d all stopped. I stood there a second and thought, “What if I wasn’t looking up when they stopped?” So I took a large and sudden step forward, said loudly, “OOF!” and smacked into the back of Brad’s backpack. “WHAT the–?” he said and turned around really fast. I was laughing so hard I was doubled over, and he said, “You scared me!” And then turning back around to face the front again, he said, “Whatever, it’s YOUR camera in the backpack.” Oh yeah, that reminds me, Brad didn’t bring a backpack and I was using Diana’s rather large backpack, so he put his stuff in mine and gentlemanly offered to wear it. I was the only one without a backpack, and it was nice. Everyone else was dripping in sweat from the excess weight and material on their backs. I bet that’s gonna be the last time Brad uses someone else’s stuff to hold his bottle of Gatoraide.

Dwaine met me at the airport and we went back to his house, where my car was parked. He’d had a great weekend, too. At his house, we raised a glass of wine to great weekends with great friends to give us perspective about what life’s really about. And then he continued to drink a few more glasses…and a few more…while I sorted through some mail he had piling up and we told each other jokes (actually, “performed” jokes was more like it) in front of his lit fireplace…with the air conditioning on. At 3am, I drove home, marking the end of a weekend in which I never went to bed before 4am.

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