And this is so how it happened on Tuesday.
Just as I predicted, I am leaving late. The day before, I said that I would be there at 7:45 am. But it’s going to be ok, going to be ok…as I pull out of my garage. Checking twice to see that the garage door closed.
Thankfully, street traffic was not bad. I call Francis and he says that he needs a few minutes. I should have warned him. I attempt to park in front of his place, but fail. Instead, I pull to nearby corner and park, twisting my wheels to the curb. Various people walking to work spill out of the nearby buildings walking with a sense of purpose, bags full of the waiting day.
He tumbles out his door pulling his disassembled folding bike. Two wheels and the frame. Around the corner I say and pop the trunk. He puts it in. Then we’re off. We make a minor U-turn. To my surprise, the intersection at Potrero and 23rd is blocked off with various police cars. What is going on! I could feel myself getting tense since I really don’t know the way out to 101 South that well from the other direction.
I can’t believe it. The turn that we just made has forced us onto 101 North. As he drives, I am yelling at myself as we hit horrible rush hour traffic into the city. I apologize profusely and find directions on the phone to get to 101 South. I calmly give directions, but the fury is building inside. 8:30! screams at me. And we’re not going to get there until 8:40 am. We creep along to the 7th Street exit and fortunately the turn to 101 South is on the left right after the ridiculously named AutoReturn—the city’s impound lot. Why make a logo for the most hated system.
“Wait, did you just say 8:50?” I say.
“Yes!” He exclaimed with the sense of calm embodied in his voice. “That’s what I have been saying all this time. We have 30 minutes.”
“No way.” I say with the relief settling through me. “Well, I suppose you got some more experience driving.”
All is well. We are chatting—our usual banter. I casually look to the right checking on the exits. 416…I see. “We’re almost there,” I say. Then I tense. It’s the exit for 3rd street for San Mateo Downtown. Wait, the numbers are decreasing. NO! We were supposed to exit at 417 and I have messed up.
I declare that we have to get to the next exit.
We are doing some crazy stuff at the 92 trying to exit safely to El Camino. I don’t know where I am going but I use the phone to tell me. It seems completely off, but I do it anyway.
I rush him off inside. I notice that he left his phone and wallet. I park the car illegally and rus inside to give him his stuff. Then I come outside to repark the car in a legal space.
I hope that he makes it, but I look at his paper. “Doesn’t it say to wait in line 18?” I say asking why he was standing in line 11.
We have been waiting in line 18 for the 20 minutes. And I could hear people around us rolling in for appointments…at 9:45 am, 9:50 am. We get to the front and he apologizes profusely. “No I am sorry but they won’t let you take the test.” The DMV guy says. “You’ll have to reschedule.” He does…two weeks from now.
“You can do whatever you want,” I say. “I owe you.”