Puzzle hunt: Arrival the day before

The puzzle hunt was going to take place in San Francisco. Getting to explore the non-touristy parts of the city was particularly  alluring. Phil and Robin drove up in the white unmarked van they’d rented and picked me up for lunch. It was so good to see them again.

As soon as I got into the vehicle the phone rang. It was Jennifer, and the idea of a mini-family reunion via phone came to mind. So I extemporaneously put Jen on speaker phone. “Hey Jen! Guess what? I’m in San Francisco with Phil and Robin. Say hi to them!”

Jennifer: “Hi…so…why wasn’t I invited?”

(awkward glances were exchanged in the van)

Phil: We…didn’t know you’d be interested?

Robin: We didn’t know you wanted to.

Me: Next time, right Jenn? I promise. Goodbye!

Jennifer: Thanks, thanks you guys.

Me: Haha, ok bye now.

I felt bad. This has been the bane of Jennifer’s life: Being the youngest she was always left out. It’s just the way of childhood’s cruel pecking order, but 30 years later and despite her exciting life (she has traveled the world, been to high stakes poker games, partied with Snoop Dogg), we still manage to make her feel unwanted. The cheese standing alone. The  forever goose to everyone else’s duck-duck.

Apparently she had heard about this puzzle hunt on her own, thought it sounded fun, but didn’t know we’d be doing it.

Jennifer called back to explain we had just caught her at a particularly wistful time when she wanted particularly to join our adventure, but overall was not mad. She suggested we go to Hogg Island for lunch, for the grilled cheese sandwiches.We did, but did not try the said sandwiches, which later Jennifer grilled me about. We did find out that Phil likes eating oysters after all, as long as they are not from the Gulf of Mexico.

I don’t know much about the oysters we ordered except that these were more expensive than any I’ve ever bought, and one species came from the Atlantic and the other came from the Pacific. Robin liked the Atlantic ones, because it had more flavor to it.  “It brings back memories  to when you were little and swimming at the beach and a wave hits you and you accidentally swallow some water,” said Phil. “So it tastes ocean-y.” I said. And it did. I liked the Pacific, less ocean-y, ones. Ocean-y brought to mind images of loose sandals, empty beer bottles covered in sand, and mollusky driftwood, with seagulls in the background. Reminding me of things my food had been living in just until I ate it.

I had an excellent halibut with olive canapé over a celery root puree. Robin had an oyster soup I think, and Phil had a clam chowder that reminded us of the Three Stooges game we played when we were kids. It was a 1980s computer game where  one in of the quests you had to eat all the crackers in a soup bowl before the clams did.

We then toured a Boudin bread company (I learned a lot about sourdough) and then had crepes down by the bay. A sickly pigeon came by and eyed our crepes with its rheumy eyes. “Shoo! Go be unhealthy somewhere else” we beseeched it. Then we took pictures of Alcatraz and of sea lions.

Me: The glare is bad so I can’t see the screen…but I think I got a good picture.

Phil: I think you got a good picture of your finger.

He was right.

On the way Phil and Robin took some time fumbling with a parking meter which gave me a sinking feeling about the puzzles that laid before us. I announced ahead of time that I also peed frequently ( I like to stay hydrated for my kidneys) and when I went for the first bathroom break Robin mentioned something about 2 oz bladder and Phil said dramatically “And so it begins.”

Then we headed for dinner with Debbie and then to meet up with James and Perry, the rest of our team.


Published in: on March 29, 2012 at 4:50 am  Leave a Comment  

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