I visited Betsy in the Bay Area this weekend. We had a blast, and we spent the majority of the time on bicycles.
Here's what 41 year old women do when they visit, at least from where I'm standing:
We roll out of bed and immediately practice track stands on a converted Bianchi fixed gear bike in our flip flops. No need to brush the hair or teeth or wipe sleep from the eyes. There are stunts to be practiced!
We weren't that good, but not terrible. A few more mornings like this and we would've had it.
FYI, I'm in love with this bike. I love it more so now being away from it. I thought about trying to fit it in my car over the weekend when Betsy wasn't looking. She and her husband only have twelve bikes between them so I thought maybe she wouldn't notice, but this particular bike is definitely the beauty of the bunch.This thing is light enough to be picked up with a finger or two. Dang! I shoulda taken it. But maybe that's not what 41 year old BFF do.
Here's what else we do: We do a lil impromptu strength and stretch session after track stands. Still in our pajamas and flip flops. There was a lot of light-hearted, Can you do THIS? She certainly has me on strength. I have her on stretching.Then we double fist coffee cups, which incidentally I'm back to drinking. Good thing too, because Betsy's not fucking around when it comes to coffee. She roasts her own beans for god's sake. Knowing this, I'm still not sure why she made me a cappuccino AND a cup of coffee so strong I was later plucking hairs from my chest. But I went with it anyway . . .Bottoms up!High on caffeine, it was time to hit the bikes and roll around the cities of Oakland and Berkeley because nothing else that we could've done interested us; not shopping, not lounging, not spa'ing. We couldn't wait to ride. First we rode around Betsy's beautiful neighborhood of Lafayette, no longer in our pajamas.
I can't explain my lure to cemeteries. I'm not interested in celebrity tombstone sightings nor am I particularly macabre. I just think they are beautiful, when the vibe isn't too heavy. I also think they are a fascinating waste of land. I say this with all due respect. It's just that I can't wrap my mind around saving the empty vessel. But I do immensely appreciate symbolism and shrines of remembrance. The Mountainview Cemetery in Oakland is an equal mix of lavish shrines and forgotten broken plaques. The land is rolling and steep with a view of the bay. It is spectacular. And there is hardly a vibe here if any. As we climbed the hills on our bikes I tried to conceptualize why. Did the breeze off the water sweep it away? Were we in a section of plots so old the dead no longer lingered? There were many tombstones that read things like: Mother. Father. A last name only. And I wondered if burying the dead goes through trends.
This family plot reads from top to bottom: Son. Mother. Father. And on the bottom, Daughter, Daughter. We tried to figure out why the son was on top. He didn't die last, and sadly I only imagined that he was valued most. Or maybe the sisters wanted to be next to each other. The stone in the back says Metcalf and underneath is says ABSENT. This baffles me.
The top was stunning. After hours of riding around and exploring neighborhoods and bike shops, we took the BART back towards Lafayette. While we were off riding around, Betsy's husband Jim was on a motorboat in the bay braving extreme chop and the carelessness of a thousand other boats because the Maltese Falcon was rolling through San Francisco for the first time, possibly the last. This is the largest privately owned sailing vessel in the world. It's over 289 feet, employs a full-time staff of 16 and cost on the upward of $300 million. Check out how small the people are on the bow. They are standing in front of two full motor boats parked up there.
The sails are fully automated thus the sick radar system. Jim said it is spectacular, especially when the sails tack and self adjust.Still, $300 million? Sigh. I'm concerned whether WaMu will cash my paycheck and a fuel fill up of the Maltese Falcon costs more than I've made in five years. Hey, who am I to judge?! The rich are free to squander their money in the most unhelpful and frivolous ways until their heart is (temporarily) content.
Speaking of the finer things, later that night Betsy pulled out a bottle of Anejo rum from Cuba that she bought in Mexico not too long ago. We drank it straight and from vintage miniature glass goblets. It was delicious. Speaking of finer things still, I woke early on Sunday morning and caught the sun climbing over Mount Diablo from Betsy's deck. In these moments I can be nothing but thankful for my life. And speaking of the finest things of all, I drove the five hours home deflecting thoughts of finances and instead day dreamed of bicycles and bicycle training and of seeing the girls and Papi, who I always miss terribly only an hour after leaving them. And I thought a lot about how much fun Betsy and I still have no matter the age; how it still feels like 24 years ago. I think by the time we're sixty-five I could almost beat her in a push up contest. Bring it, B!