Thursday, August 19, 2010

48 hours to Bar Mitzvah: reality check

What I just learned is that double-digit trips up and down our front steps are a sweaty business, regardless of how thick the cloud cover is. It only took five trips to load the car, but that was enough to remind me once again how much easier our lives would be if we lived in a Mediterranean-inspired tract home in Walnut Creek.

The games have begun.

It's barely 11, but already Sandra Bullock and I have spent 25 minutes crawling up Third Street, covering the one mile between King and Market Streets at an average speed of 2.4 miles per hour in an efffort to reach the Hyatt Regency Embarcadero in time for our nine a.m. gift bag dropoff. We'd called our contact (whose vowel-heavy first name caused not a small bit of consternation in the car until she answered the phone by clearly stating her name, probably having spent her entire career correcting all manner of name butchering)from in front of the ballpark and told her we were five minutes away.

Almost a half-hour later, we reached the construction site. San Francisco, demonstrating once again its complete lack of practical leadership, had chosen morning rush hour to shut down one lane of Third Street. I can see their logic; if they don't shut down that block of Third, all of those construction guys are going to have to find another place to lounge around and drink coffee. Welcome to the world's favorite travel destination.

A little over two weeks ago, I wrote of the Jawa's August 3, 1997 arrival. Today, and not a moment sooner, I realized that I've been repeating myself. The minute our glass elevator emerged into the ten-story Hyatt Regency atrium, I was knocked senseless by a wave of realization: our Bar Mitzvah is in 48 hours.

I think the idea was that we stay busy enough not to think about stuff like that, but there it was. After almost two years of abstract reasoning, it's as real as the Jawa's tantrum about appropriate brunch attire.

But there's not time for that. Right now we're in a little air pocket between dropping gift bags and centerpieces off at the Hyatt and running a two-car convoy to the Golden Gate Yacht Club. Our car is already full of everything except the centerpieces. That was me running up and down the stairs and shoving -- no, sorry, carefully placing -- bags full of Chinese take-out boxes (with attractive tissue paper inside), 90 pounds of candy, two boxes of candles and a few other miscellaneous items, including two bags of paper lanterns, into the vehicle; then returning to my keyboard, only to feel a wave of after-the-fact sweat hit me as I sat down.

Stop for a moment, if you will, and join me in marveling at the engine that drives my wife. In the past five minutes, while we wait for a text telling us that our neighbor Stephanie is home and will turn her minivan over to us (for the centerpieces), she has done the following:

1) vacuumed the living room.
2) wiped down the stainless steel fronts of the dishwasher and kitchen island.
3) called the party rental place to set up payment for the extra tables and dishes we found out yesterday we needed to rent.
4) called to see if our Godzilla poster's framing was complete. It wasn't, so she slammed the phone down and berated the framing shop for about 25 seconds -- while simultaneously beginning another project.

Right now she's vacuuming the kitchen floor. It is covered with Mexican terra cotta tiles, which apparently benefit from vacuuming.

We just received our text. "Car is ready," said S. Bullock, deftly flipping the vacuum off, stowing it in a corner and disappearing out the front door. A few seconds later, I heard a faint, "Watch Shack!" from somewhere outside.

If I had the time, I would spend today laying back and watching the master in action, but I don't. I'm needed, to drive a car and provide an extra pair of offloading hands, at least. Mostly, I'm just hanging on, trying to keep up. I'd much rather be in my room, singing along to the Black Eyed Peas, which is what the Jawa is doing at present.

I'm lying about that part. I wouldn't be singing along to the Black-Eyed Peas. But God bless my son. Yesterday we went over his tendency to default to rage where others might withdraw into depression. This glee -- running around his room singing, as if he has not a care in the world -- isn't fooling anyone. He's wound up pretty tight, but I appreciate how even his pretend cool is rooted in a total celebration of all things big and grand.

I just got the call. "Comeoneletsgoloadthecarkeepshackuphereletsgoareyoureadyyet?" so I'm going to have to cut this short. Less than 48 hours until our boy climbs up onto the bimah and makes his claim to manhood. Almost two hours since I looked up into the heights of the imposing Hyatt Regency atrium lobby and thought, "Holy cow, it's really going to happen!" No more time for musing or stories.

As Dr. Marcie nee Mark Bowers might say, "We're way past that now!"

No comments: