Friday, 9/22: I sleep in a bit and figure I'll do a walkabout of the city later. Everyone is working, so, alas...poor me. On my own. I had to pick up my stuff from Macy's anyway, so I'll just shop around there some more. Maybe I'll hit Alcatraz on my own. Sweeeeeeet!
Not to be. Late morning, I look in my friend's fridge. Hey, look! Some chicken, tortillas, cheese...hmmm....quesadilla! I heat it up and have the yummy goodness! I'm catching up on emails and the like when suddenly, about an hour after eating, I feel it. The makings of an SF style earthquake happening in my belly. Ouch. Uh-oh. Yep. Food poisoning. I'll spare you all of the vomitous details. Suffice it to say, I stayed in the entire day. Only leaving to pick up the clothes and barely making it to do that.
I get back and try to sleep it off. Not much luck. Melissa, my date for the ball weekend, gets in touch and we decide on when she is going to pick me up. Right before 7, so as to arrive at The Empress of China fashionably late. Well, that was my thought process. I was quite concerned over whether or not I could make it through the night. I figured, I'll go and if I need to bounce early, I will.
Melissa picks me up and I tell her the news of my expulsive afternoon. She is quite concerned and tells me to inform her if I need to leave. I feel awful. Not just physically, but I didn't want to be such a lame escort with the sickness nor have to abandon her later. She says that she will happily drive me home if needed. I assure her that I'd rather have her stay and enjoy and I could grab a cab if needed. Did I mention how great she looked? Yeah, that's right. Hotness. I didn't look too shabby myself. Though, I'm sure I appeared a bit flush.
We arrive and make our entrance. Grand as hell. I see many of the people from the night before and a few I hadn't yet. James and Lynn from the SoCal group were in attendance. Huge dance floor and tables on either side. We stake our claim for a table and begin mingling. I'm a bit parched from the dehydration and feel the need to sit often. Still, I wanted to try to move around a bit. Tried a quick waltz. Some swing. Okay, need a seat. Take it easy. Melissa, ever the concerned date, frequently checks on me. "I'm cool", I say as I lie through my teeth. I was hurting bad! I had to excuse myself a few times to release the hounds. Good thing I brought my toothbrush and breath mints! At one point, I had just danced and was needing to sit. Someone comes up to me and says a friend would like a dance. I balk at first, but sense that the girl thinks I'm being a jerk off and not wanting to dance with her. It's a waltz, so I figure...okay. I make it through and head straight for the latrine after. I know. You've had enough of my regurgitation reports.
We sit down to eat and I trepidatiously grab some food. Sort of just biting at it. After dinner, around 9 p.m., I feel like I'm done. I need to go. I didn't want to be a downer and all that, but it was time. I didn't want to leave though. So, I downed about a pitcher of water and chilled. Hey, time for some set dances. Well, in this case, a march. I can handle that! Melissa and I get up and partake. I started feeling a little better by moving around. All good. Well, not all good. Mostly good. Can that be a new saying in the 'hood? "Yo, I'm mostly good up in this piece!" I'll see if it catches on. I decide to stick it out and am glad I did. Another waltz or 2. A polka. Not bad!
They kick us out at 11 and we head over to a local bar called Li-Po. It's a pretty well known dive bar in Chinatown. We sit in the back for a couple of drinks and revel away for a bit. I started hearing this mad banging. Are they setting fireworks off early? Someone getting shot? Is there construction going on nearby? Did Godzilla arrive to tear the city apart? (I know that's a Japanese reference. Sue me.) Nope, it was some of the local Chinese slamming their dice cups on the bar. WITH AUTHORITY! The crowd starts to trickle out, so Melissa and I follow suit. I get home and go straight to bed. Anxious to see if I feel better in the morning.
Saturday, 9/23: The boat tour around the bay was leaving Pier 41 at 10:30 a.m. For some reason, I wake up early. I really want to go, but just feel like I should stay in. I fall back asleep for awhile after some stomach trouble and bolt awake right before 10. Okay, I'm going. I quickly shower and change and run out to get a cab. Somehow, I got one within 5 minutes. It was 10:20. Google maps says it was only 4 minutes away! For some reason, it took almost 10. I jump out and see a boat that I think is the right one. Crap! The gate is closed! Okay, what do I do? I call Louise who sends Ray, one of the ball organizers, out to get me. By then, I wisely decided to just open the gate and walk up. All good! I'm in!
The weather was great and the view was stunning! We rode past Alcatraz, and under the Golden Gate bridge and back for about 1 1/2 hours. An informative recording let us know about some of the history of the bay and the surrounding parts. I still wasn't feeling 100%, but being in the fresh air helped a bit. After we docked, I broke off into a small group for lunch. I don't know why I sat down to eat, as I feared the result. I barely touched my food and after lunch, decided to head back home. Once again, good cab karma and I'm back in a jiffy. Melissa and I touch base and decide to blow off the pre-ball dance practice. I knew what I was doing! I didn't need no stinking lessons! I was a dancer back in the day and still gots the moves. No, not a ballerina as Melissa likes to say. And every time she does, I punch her in the baby maker. Anyway, I lay down for a much needed nap and awake a bit more refreshed.
Melissa picks me up and I jump in the truck. After seeing her, I so eloquently say, "Damn! You look hot!" Yep. Like a drunken frat boy. I meant to say something like, "What a striking visage I gaze upon." I blame it on illin' for the lack of proper wordage. And seriously, she looked amazing. And yes, so did I. Well, not as good as her, but I had some dopeness going on! (Quick reminder for those that don't know me well: No one loves me more than me!) New suit, shoes and even pocket square. Melissa had this fly thing going on with her mile long pearls. I was convinced they were weapons. Which she proved by lassoing me and tying me up like she was a cowgirl and I was the steer. Between her pearls and my chain wallet, we could have been the new Dynamic Duo. Chain Boy and Pearl Girl! Hmmm...might have to work on those names. Doesn't really strike fear into the heart of criminals, the cowardly and suspicious lot they may be.
We arrive at the Browncoat Ball and grab a drink. Soon, they start inviting us into the dining/ball room. We were asked if we wanted to be announced. Well, duh! As we enter, the barker shouts out, "The Regents of Osiris, Jimmy & Melissa!" Yeah, I told him to say that. Look at us! We looked Regentesque!
We grab a table. The cool table. Cool table because, once again...DUH! We're at it! Joining us we're Louise, Jean, Adam, Karla and another couple that I stupidly forgot their names. Sorry about that folks! But, take it easy! You got to sit with us! I was feeling a bit better and jumped up to do a dance or 2 on occasion. Finally, dinner was served and I was a bit voracious due to my lack of eating the past couple of days. I piled my plate up, but only ate about half of it. And it stayed in me! Wheeeee! (Well, until the natural process of...never mind.) More mingling and dancing. Some set dances. Sweet! A set dance is like a huge group dance. You used to see them in old movies like Gone With the Wind. Or in the Firefly episode titled "Shindig". Or at random sporting events. Okay, maybe not the last one. After one particular dance that Melissa and I enjoyed, Melissa inquired as to it's name. She asks Jean, a girl at our table and the conversation goes something like this.
"What's this dance called?", asks Melissa.
"What? This one?", replies Jean.
"Yep.", Melissa answers.
"Oh, it's the whore's dress.", says Jean.
"What?!", exclaims Melissa.
"It's the whore's dress.", Jean calmly responds.
"Wait. The dance is called The Whore's Dress?!!", Melissa says incredulously.
"Wait...what? OH! NO! Not the dance. I thought you asked about my dress!", Jean says.
Henceforth, that dance was known as The Whore's Dress. Pretty fitting, I thought. And one of the funniest misunderstandings I have witnessed in awhile. Well, next to that time with the midget stripper, a poodle, a bowl of noodles, Tina Yothers and cafeteria. It's a long story. For another time.
After much dancing and drinking, we walk over to the after party. Saturday night in SF, so much partying happening in the city. A lot of clubs and bars in the area. This large group of well dressed people just strolling up and down the hills. We arrive at Swig, the place for the after party. It's a night club. Not exactly what any of us expected. I was hoping for a chill lounge scene, as were quite a few others. It was a meat market club. We did have the back room to ourselves. The unventilated, tight and closed in back room. Still, we made the most of it.
Got a drink and sat and chatted for a bit. Hung out with Melissa, James and Louise and got to chat with many others. Hotter than a whore on nickel night, we decide to do a "one and done." One drink and depart, that is. We heard that Ray was hanging in the hospitality suite of the hotel where the ball was held. I heard liquor and chilling. We bolted over there. Much more relaxing and laid back, we hang in the hospitality suite with a number of other folks. Right before 2, we bounce out since our parking garage attendant was adamant about getting the car out by 2. We make it with minutes to spare! We hop in the Bleiermobile and head home. A fun and entertaining evening had by all!
Sunday, 9/24: Much sleepage. There was a Chinatown jaunt in the morning and the afternoon. I opted for the latter. Gave Louise a call and found out where they were.
We grab a little light lunch at Sam Wo's. Another well known tiny restaurant. We sat up on the 3rd floor that had both a dumb waiter and a balcony! Now, before you jump to conclusions, I mean the dumb waiter in the wall. Not an actual person. Sheeeesh. After our meal, I send Arielle outside with my camera to get pictures of me addressing my people.
There I am, doing my best cross between The King and I and Evita. It was kind of comical. People kept stopping and looking up to see if I would actually say something. I should have just went into some speech or burst into song. Of course, then I may have dishonored the house of Sam Wo's father or something and had the Triad on my ass. So, I kept it shut.
We shop around and head over to the place with the best pork buns around. I haven't had buns this good since that time I ended up with Bambi and Elektra from Hustler Club. Whoa there, tiger. We just went and ate pork buns somewhere. Get your minds out of the gutter! Of course, I ate the pork buns off of their....well...never mind.
We splinter off into a smaller group and walk around Chinatown. Louise, Jen, Arielle, Adam, Karla and I just walked around and took in the stores. Many a lucky cat, Buddha's and Chinese people. Not sure why. So many in one place, you'd think they'd have a section of town to call their own instead of clogging up Chinatown. Maybe I'll look into it. Maybe call it Chinese Peopleville. Something like that.
We run into the Chinatown Justin Timberlake. He had the ladies screaming for him! Found people just dancing away to his lovely and haunting skill on the...uh...what is that he's playing? Some magical Oriental string instrument. Hypnotic! After his short concert, we move on until we reach the gates of Chinatown. Where I find a creepy bench with bronzed children.
So, I do my best to completely abuse the artwork. It's the same I'd do to my real kids! Well, I would do it if they ever show up. Instead of sending me those cryptic messages every Father's Day saying, "My Mommy says your my Daddy." One day, I'll find you meddling kids!
We split up again and it ends up being Arielle, Jen and I. We head over to The Metreon and play in the arcade. Jen finds my skills with the gun games a bit scary. Just part of growing up in the 'hood, yo! We find a sit down Pac-Man machine and I totally destroy the high score. I hadn't played in years! I swear! They didn't believe me. Hey, I'm Asian. We come out the womb playing video games.
Shortly after, I head back to finish packing before Melissa comes to pick me up and take me to the airport. I had to borrow a bag from Faith since I had bought so much extra stuff. All packed up. Ready to depart. Melissa arrives and we venture forth to Oakland airport. My time in Ol' SF was coming to an end. We have our last laughs and I'm dropped off at the airport.
Of course, within moments, everyone from the ball called me to say how much they already missed me. You guys love me so much.
Maybe I don't have to love myself as much in the future. Who am I kidding? Nothing like some self loving! Wait...that sounded....
I had a blast in SF. Sure, a few glitches here and there. Overall, a fucking rockin' time! Thanks to everyone for making it so. And fret not...I'll be back. Will you be ready?
Just keep me away from the chicken.