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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Bad Days Turn Around at Gordon Biersch

Once again, I’m caught in a flurry of Brooks Brothers suits and pencil skirts. I snag a mouthful of somebody’s long blonde curls, which smell and taste like TRESemmé Extra Hold hairspray from an aerosol can. Bleh. Gusts of wind repel my onward motion, so I push back, leaning forward at a 45-degree angle as if hiking a vertical mountain with a 70-pound sack on my back. I think I’m starting to sweat, but I can’t tell because it’s so freakin’ windy. I hold my shiny white MacBook close to my body so as not to ruin it while smashing into bits of the swarm, which make up the chaos that is lunch hour on Market Street.

It’s Friday afternoon. At this point in my city-life endeavor, Friday is the only day of the week that I don’t have to be at one of my four jobs, and all I want to do is sip a mocha and open my laptop for a good Facebook-surfing session at Starbucks. In Beaverton, this would have been simple, but in San Francisco, employees like torturing their patrons. A working example: At Starbucks, the only way they let you access the Internet is with an AT&T account – and Verizon is a zillion times better than AT&T, so there’s no way in hell I’m signing up for one of those – or an online pass or a gift card of sorts. So after ordering my holiday favorite (a big fat peppermint mocha with extra whipped cream and sprinkles), I pack my computer bag and exit, my face as red as the cup I hang on to. I just want to go home.

Right as I start to feel sorry for myself (which you know I’m totally not doing anymore, if you saw yesterday’s post), I smash into another woman with blonde curly hair – and, yes, I eat another mouthful of hairspray-taut locks. This time they taste like Aussie Mega Hold.

“Well, hello there, Li’l Munchkin!” Without even looking, I know it’s Maijken. Nobody else calls me Munchkin.

“Hi!” I exclaim. I’m thrilled to see a familiar face, especially when it’s that of my only friend in the city. (Well, one of my only friends in the city.)

“Hey, what are you doing right now?” she asks. I tell her the story of my horrendous morning, which doesn’t sound so bad to her. She’s already been in San Francisco a year and is used to eating hair. She’s with a coworker, on her way to Gordon Biersch Brewery to sample a plethora of appetizers and drinks for her company’s holiday party. Maijken wants to know if I’ll tag along. Let’s see, I think I can put off doing nothing to eat and drink at a tasty restaurant with a magnificent view, yes.

Gordon Biersch is positioned directly in front of the Bay Bridge. So close, in fact, that we can make out the details on the cars that drive over it. We sit on the patio, under the heat lamps, with eight cups of different wines in front of us. The waiters ask us to sample them like it’s a chore, but we oblige. After an amount of vino that probably isn't appropriate on a work day, Maijken and her coworker signal the waiters to keep the appetizers coming, while I sit motionless, grinning from ear to ear and exposing my purple chops. After all, how would Maijken and her friend decide what to order for their holiday party if they didn’t sample everything on the menu?

Forget this morning. I definitely drew the long straw this afternoon.


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