I’m trying to convince Andrew to Send Me Away, to remove me from the curious public eye like they used to do for girls who got “in trouble”—a brief stay with an “aunt” somewhere just far enough away so that there would be no visitors and no rumors. I myself am not exactly “in trouble”—though when I see screaming children and over-burdened parents I sometimes wonder if I am—but still, I think this idea of being Sent Away makes a lot of sense. Now that I’m pregnant, I’d like to make a formal request to Andrew: that I be Sent Away to San Francisco.
I’m actually in San Francisco right now, riding on the coattails of Andrew’s nearly weeklong business trip. Why not tag along, with my ridiculous feed bag to stave off my alarming hunger? Why not tag along, with my laptop and my very portable work? Why not tag along, especially when we get to stay at the Intercontinental Mark Hopkins on Nob Hill, one of the city’s swankiest hotels?
Looking out our hotel room window now that the sun has gone down, I can see the (tasteful) white-neon sign for the Huntington Hotel seemingly hovering in midair in the darkness; not far from there are the gothic towers of Grace Cathedral, framing the gorgeous rose window lit up in green and blue. Lights are sparkling in the hills, and on the streets below. We just had a lovely dinner at the Nob Hill Café before Andrew rushed off to a poker tournament (which is actually a work thing for him)—a small Italian restaurant where we spotted several solo diners reading the newspaper as they quietly enjoyed their meals, something we saw frequently in NYC but haven’t seen at all—never, not even once—in Sacramento. If Andrew deigns to Send Me Away, I might eat there every day.
A friend was in Sacramento for a job interview yesterday. When he arrived, he was enthusiastic about the job, under the illusion that living in Northern California was a delirious dream of wineries and golf courses and exceptional food. But after he actually drove to the job location, in Folsom, a town not far from Sacramento, he returned defeated. “It’s suburbia on steroids,” he said. I’ve never been to Folsom, but I don’t need to go. I know exactly what it’s like, from the endless shopping plazas to the “premium outlets.” Really, Send Me Away, far away, from there.
I have work to do while I’m here, but if I choose to tomorrow I can slip out of my hotel for a walk, blending in with the crowds on the sidewalk, taking in more sights and sounds on one city block than I would in a week in Sacramento. I can hop on a trolley, or hail a taxi, or step into a corner store for a ginger ale if my sometimes indigesting stomach requires one. Maybe someone will ask me for directions; maybe I’ll pretend I know how to answer. Maybe I’ll sit in Huntington Park and look at Grace Cathedral and read a book while all the city-people walk their dogs and push their strollers around me.
And I’ll plan my exit, plot my escape, and figure out how to convince Andrew that the best thing for our future baby is that his/her mother should have six months of “rest” in San Francisco.