Yesterday I went to see Dad. He called me and said "I want to go have some dim sum."
"That's doable." Dad lives near Chinatown. Dim Sum places in Chinatown are like Starbuck's in the suburbs. There's one on every corner.
"There's a place I heard about from Herbert Hoover Chung I want to try out."
I nearly did a spit take. Herbert Hoover Chung! Wow. Fab. Next we'll go to a sushi place recommended by Woodrow Wilson Toyama. "Okay, let me get dressed and I'll head over."
I got dressed, then grabbed the new Marian Keyes novel. It's not out yet until next year, but I got it off ebay. I headed towards BART. It's Indian Summer in the Bay Area; which means the trees start appearing in gorgeous hues of reds and yellows while it's ninety degrees. Yep. My clothes until November are usually tanks, skirts, and jeans.
On BART I sat in a sea of blue/gold; there was a UC Berkeley game going on. I started Marian Keyes and was transported to Ireland. I read for half a hour, then got off at Montgomery and took the bus to Dad's. After we went to the bank to check on his balances, he said "Okay, let's take the bus to the place."
"Dad, isn't it two blocks away?"
"I don't want to walk that far."
Now his physical therapist said he needed to walk more. However, it's incredibly hard to walk in Chinatown, especially on a Saturday. You have crowds and crowds of people on the streets buying food, visiting with friends, selling things. It's crazy."Okay, let's take the bus."
So we boarded the 30. The 30 Stockton is an adventure. Because it goes through Chinatown, it crowds very quickly. So when Dad and I got on the bus there was one seat for him in the senior section. I made sure he sat down, then stood in front of him to make sure that no one would ask him to get up.
The bus moved slowly, then Dad said "Ring the bell."
"Dad are you sure?"
"Yes, yes I'm sure."
"Okay." I rang the bell, then we had to navigate getting off the bus. I said in my best Brenda Leigh Johnson voice "Excuse me! Thank you! Excuse me! Thank you!" An elderly Asian woman walked in front of me, said something in Chinese to the boarding people. They let us unboard. "Thank you! Thank you!" I sang, holding Dad's hand.
"Okay Dad, what's the place called?"
He thought for a minute. "I don't know."
"Okay, what street is it on?"
Again he thought. "I don't know."
It was taking everything I could to not yell "Mother Mary! Why didn't you think this out?" Instead I said "Okay, let's go down Pacific."
We went to Pacific and we saw a place advertising Dim Sum. "Tell me more about the place, Dad."
"Well, it's a place where all the tourists go."
I looked at him. My father hates tourists. When you live in North Beach, you have to deal with tourists on a daily basis. Mostly they're looking for City Lights Bookstore, or beatniks. Take your pick.
An elderly Asian man walked up to us. "You looking for Dim Sum? Looking where everyone goes? I take you Dim Sum."
Thank the Lord! Okay there were five Dim Sum places we could go to, but we're going to the right Dim Sum place! We crossed the street while the man held his hand blocking traffic. I held onto Dad's hand, making sure we wouldn't get lost.
Finally we saw the place: New Asia. It didn't hit until then how hungry I was. The man walked us to the place, then-I am not making this up-he found us a table. The place looked like an old ballroom that had seen better days.
Dad paid him two dollars. In seconds we had women say "You want pork buns? How about rice? Barbqued Pork?" Yes, yes, yes. Tea was served. Dad and I ate, talked. They came again.Want Crab Craw? Shrimp? Dad was smart; he said "Let us finish what we have." Otherwise I would've looked at her and said "Yes please!"
After we had so so pot stickers and egg rolls, I tried to figure out the check. As I held up the check, the waitress walked up to us. "Finished!" She said as a sentence, not a question. She brought the check. It was thirty-one dollars. "How did it get up so much?" Dad asked.
I looked at the check. "It was the pork. Six dollars."
He groaned. He took out a twenty, a ten and a one. The waitress came back. "It's thirty-one dollars and five cent."
"Oh." Dad dug out a nickel. She looked at it. I almost wanted to say "It's not wooden."
"You forgot tip."
Dad dug out three dollars. We finished our tea. "They don't mess around, do they?"
"They sure don't."
I walked Dad to the bus stop. He had to to Macy's; I had to go to City Lights and pick up a birthday present for a friend. "We'll go back there when we know the menu better," Dad said.
"Six dollars for pork!"
The 30 Stockton came. There were plenty of empty seats. I kissed him good-bye. "Thanks Dad." I was not just thanking him for lunch. It was the experience. It was the fact that it was crazy getting there but it was good to sit and talk. When I was a kid seeing Dad was an adventure. He always wanted to try something new. I watched the bus head towards the tunnel, glad I didn't settle, glad it worked out.
Causes Jennifer Gibbons Supports
Gilda's Club, Greenpeace, Rosie's Broadway Kids,Westwind Foster Family Agency, Amber Brown Fund, Linda Duncan Fund for Contra Costa Libraries