I thought I had planned it all out perfectly. Isn't that the way these stories always start? I had bought some tomatoes, I was going to go pick them up in North Beach, then walk to meet Heather for coffee downtown at Blue Bottle. The timing was going to work out just right: it was about a 20 minute walk and I had just shy of half an hour. What I didn't factor in was that 24 pounds of tomatoes might slow me down just a hair.
Ummm, yeah. 24 pounds, you read that right. Which, in my delusion, I thought was no biggie. I lift weights sometimes, I'm ok with a heavy box or two. 24 pounds might be a little heavy after a while, but I'd just do it. I could handle it.
(So this is the point in the story where everyone asks why. Why 24 pounds? Why not one, or two pounds like normal people? And I have to admit, the question confuses me a bit, and I have to think about the answer. Why? Because tomatoes are awesome. Duh. You mean you wouldn't jump at the chance to have 24 pounds of them? Really? Because I would. Clearly.)
Anyway, I counted the blocks as I walked them. I knew there were about 9 shortish blocks to get back to Market St, and then 3 1/2 longer blocks on Market. The first five blocks weren't that bad. I found a comfortable position with the tomatoes, and we were fine. It got a little worse when I stupidly decided to put the bottom box on top because it might be easier to carry. Oops! It wasn't, it was harder. So I carried it like that for a few more blocks, and then switched back. By then I was a little warm and my arms were feeling it. So I took a break for a minute or two, and then I picked up the tomatoes and kept walking.
After that it just got harder and harder. My arms were burning, I started to sweat a bit. (Or is it glow? Ladies glow, right? Well, I was glowing all over.) I started looking all over for ledges to set the boxes down on, just for a moment. Just to catch my breath. But there were no ledges, and it was downtown San Francisco on a Saturday morning. Men pushing strollers blithely walked in front of me, seemingly in no hurry to reach their destination. Possibly homeless or perhaps just hygiene deficient folks walked an unpredictable line. Tourists chattered in groups, looking at each other and nothing else, pausing unpredictably to the joy of those behind them. And I just wanted to put these tomatoes down.
I think the crowning moment was when the two boxes of tomatoes snagged a button on my vest between them. There wasn't really anything I could do at the moment, I just held them carefully, trying not to rip the button off until I could set the boxes down on something. I walked, and my arms threatened mutiny. But I run a tight ship, and so I kept on going.
Finally, about 30 feet from my final destination there was a ledge. So I stopped momentarily, laid down my burden carefully, trying not to dislodge the trapped button. I thought I had succeeded, but I looked down, and there was no button. Just some thread where it had been. And try as I might, I couldn't find the button anywhere. I retraced my steps, sans tomatoes, not caring if anyone cared to pilfer them. But no button was found.
Finally I gave up. I tried to wipe a bit of sweat off my face and smooth my hair a bit. I attempted to rearrange my vest so the missing button didn't call so much attention to itself, and so I made my way to meet Heather, 15 minutes late, all red, with 24 pounds of tomatoes and a button gone. I'm sure she was thrilled to see me. To her credit, we had a great time anyway, and she acted like buying so many tomatoes was totally normal. And I gave her some, to try to make up for it.
So, that's what I did on Saturday morning. What about you?
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