It’s a beautiful day and it’s Labor Day weekend and you’re thinking of driving to a trailhead to go hiking. May I give you some advice?
DON’T DO IT!!!!!
First off, it’s a dangerous world out there. Don’t make me trot out the statistics about deaths by automobile accidents. It’s not a pretty number. Then you might innocently cut someone off while changing lanes, only to find out that he’s a registered psychopath who the NRA lets buy an assault weapon. I wouldn’t chance it. And even if you were to survive the drive, do you realize who dangerous the outdoors is? Any one of those hard-to-recognize three-leaf plants could be poison oak itching to get on your skin to get you itching. Just when you have that important meeting next week, your face is red and blotchy and you're scratching like mad. Mountain lions have been spotted on the trail and it’s a bit windy today. What’s to prevent that tree branch from breaking just as you happen to be walking under it? And don’t even get me started on snakes.
So why not stay home where it’s safe and comfortable? Put on one of those Nature Sounds CD’s and get a slide-show screensaver of beautiful landscapes while you check your e-mail, which let’s face it, is way backed up and is screaming for you to take care of business. You could watch a video like Into the Wild and while he’s scraping bark off trees to try to stay alive, you’re sittin’ pretty with a big bowl of popcorn and the beverage of your choice. Sweet!
The point is, had you and the 10,000 other people out on the road in San Francisco today taken my advice, I actually could have driven as planned to Pt. Reyes to meet my daughter who’s camping and go to a fun party in Inverness. But since it took me 20 minutes to drive the seven blocks it usually takes me 10 minutes to walk and it took an hour to get within sight of the Golden Gate Bridge (usually 15 minutes by car) only to realize it was backed up to Alaska, I decided to turn around and go home. Instead I got on my bike and had a lovely hassle-free ride through San Francisco. (But sorry to miss the hike with my daughter.)
By the way, this is Sunday, the middle of Labor Day weekend when I assumed people had already arrived Friday night or Saturday at their out-of-the-city destination. But apparently, every day was like today. What is going on here?!!!
We just taught the song San Francisco to the kids at school, the one the organist plays in the Castro Theater at the end of his pre-movie gig while the organ descends to the pit, the audience claps along and the curtains open for the movie to start. The opening lines (which most people don’t know beyond “San Francisco…”) are:
San Francisco, open your Golden Gate
You’ll let no stranger wait, outside your door…
Now in my 43rd year as a San Francisco resident, I’m thinking maybe we shouldn’t open the Golden Gate quite so wide and consider letting some strangers wait outside the door until they decide to go home. Especially those rich young folks who are driving up the housing prices! Just a thought.
One more vacation day tomorrow. I’m staying home.