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Friday, December 4, 2009

Ahh, Sam. I Love You.

“I’m Captain on this trip,” Darren says presumptuously once we leave the apartment and flag down a blue and white DeSoto cab. A friend from college just moved to San Francisco from Portland, Oregon, and his girlfriend is in town visiting. Darren and I want to show them a good time, so we're gallivanting to Tiburon.

“Ugh,” I sigh in defeat. “Fine.” It’s his turn to be Captain, anyway.

Designating a Captain is the only way we can get through a day trip alive. Captain gets to make all the decisions: where to catch the ferry (I definitely would not have chosen Fisherman’s Wharf on a Saturday, the most touristy spot in all of San Francisco on the busiest day of the week, but that’s just me); whether we eat a snack on the boat or wait until we get to the restaurant; which road to follow when we get lost; and so on. Whoever is not Captain (we call this person Sidekick) has to go with the flow, no questions asked.

It sounds dense, but the arrangement works to our advantage. Sometimes it’s the only way we have any fun. Without Captain, we bicker about each of the above-mentioned options. When I go left, Darren wants to turn right. When I’m adamant about taking the boat from the Ferry Building, Darren would rather weave through European tourists and babies in strollers and stand in line for 45 minutes at Fisherman’s Wharf. With the Captain-Sidekick designation system, there’s no fighting, because Sidekick simply follows along happily, even if he or she is certain Captain is going the wrong way or making a foolish decision.

Anyway, after cheerfully waiting in line for the better part of an hour to get on the ferry at Fisherman’s Wharf (and trying my best to repress an I-told-you-so smirk), I’m voyaging across the Bay with Darren, Drew and Melissa, coffee in my hand and wind in my hair.

Ahh, the life of a sailor. My mind trails off until we hit land, and we’re running (the wrong way, I think) to Sam’s, which is best known for the twenty-somethings that lounge on its dock from 10 a.m. to sunset on Saturday afternoons in the fall. We run because the boat is full of young people who have the same plan as we do — to drink the day away with overpriced Bloody Marys on the dock of the Bay — and we want a good table, right on the water.

The ladies’ room is already packed with cougars and 21-ers by the time I squeeze my way in. I want to shout, It’s 10:30 in the morning, folks! Because I didn’t know this kind of early, early morning boozing continued after graduating from college. (Afternoon boozing, yes, but 10 a.m.? No.)

Later we meet Ydette and Rick, and we bathe in sun and liquor for hours. We share our sunscreen with the table next to us, and Ydette banters with one of the girls about her hometown of Miami, while Drew talks football with a new pal.

“This is from your friends across the way,” the waiter comes over with a Bloody Mary that I didn’t order, right as we’re about to leave. I follow her gaze to the corner of the dock, to two people who live at Luxury Condo.

“Aw, wow! Thanks!” I shout across the sea of inebriates, hoping to get their attention, as I raise my fresh glass of red juice to the sky. This leads to another round of drinks. And an entire night in Tiburon.


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  1. Megs! I still haven't been on the short little ferry ride across the bay! Can you please be my captain and go with me sometime in January? I can be a great sidekick, especially when I have no idea where to go! :) Can't wait until the 16th! Finals are hell, but you blog is always a nice study break. xoxo

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