June 17, 2001: Dispatches
by Brad & Tony
On Their Trip Across America

OK, back to this CBS "Early Show" thing. I knew it wasn't going to go well almost from the first instant, when Jane said something like, "There is a cabbie in San Francisco who...."

My heart sank at c...c...c... (I can hardly type the word) cabbie (there, I did it). In the Bay Area cab world I am trying to make the c-word a no-no. In the article on this web site entitled "You talkin' to me?" [click here to view it] I report that not once in all the years I've been hanging around cab lots has a fellow cab driver called me c...c...c...oh, well.... (I'm told the c-word is also a bad word in Seattle; although, in Jane's defense, cab drivers from New York tell me that they use the word regularly and without shame.)

Anyway, it was a bad start and then, it spiraled right into "Tony, what's the funnest thing?" Funnest! Funnest? I think Tony's response was totally appropriate: "Come again?"

And then Jane's close: "I hope you two don't get sick of each other!"

What a thing to say to two people on a journey like ours! His fifth day in the country - she should have wished us well, not flipped us off. Bad representation of America, there, Jane!

You see, the thing is, Tony and I are having a great time together, the time we spend alone is perhaps the best thing about this trip. We talk about everything, openly, and as honestly as I am capable of. If when I were younger and single I had met a woman who I could talk to this way, I would have thought about marrying her. In fact, that's just how I married two women - consecutively, of course.

Anyway, last night at dinner Tony and I talked about the tv show again, and talked about how well everything's going between us, and how so soon this trip will be over, and Tony said, "By end of trip, we prove she (Jane) is wrong." And we reached across the table and shook on it.

Yesterday, we laid low a bit. Tony stayed home from the baseball game while Rhonda and Sarah and mother-in-law Gloria went to see the Giants beat Oakland 2-1 at a fairly broiling Pac Bell Park.

Tony wasn't able to sleep so well, so he walked down Piedmont Avenue alone and had some rice and chicken and beef and a Coke at Little Shin Shin Restaurant and paid for it himself and walked back home - I think this is great! I know that my time alone in foreign countries (and at home) is some of the most important time I have, and I'm glad, and I think he is too, that he had this little experience all by himself.

After the ballgame (and a solid one-hour, 45-minute nap for me) Tony and I drove in to North Beach and parked Jamie Maddox's Service! Taxi in front of fellow writer and friend Phil Cousineau's house atop Telegraph Hill. Phil's 5-year-old son Jack showed us his train set in the basement and then took us up to the rooftop (view!) and did a great little young native dance for us. Phil has been to Banaue several times and he and Tony had a lot to talk about. We walked to the other side of Telegraph Hill and knocked on Larry Habbeger's (Executive Editor of Travelers' Tales) door and spent a few minutes watching Larry and wife Paula put the girls Alana and Erne to bed, swapped a few tales and swapped a few tales.

We gave a free taxi ride to a man named Gabriel who was one-quarter Filipino but had never been to the Philippines. We dropped him at Civic Center, where the Filipino Festival had (unexpectedly) closed down for the night. Tony and I headed for our favorite restaurant, the New Delhi on Ellis Street, where Tony's favorite dish is tandoori chicken ("Indian food very good!"). Last night was his ninth night in America and his fifth meal at the New Delhi. I love it there, too. I wish I could eat like this, spend like this, in my normal, less-interesting, but much more sleep-filled regular life.

Our biggest problem is getting sleep. Last night, Saturday night, Tony slept five hours, and I think I got six. And that was our best night in a while.

Our next biggest problem is that the supply of special "tobacco leaf for chewing" that Tony brought from Banaue is dwindling - "three more days, maybe - I am trying to use very little" - and we are wondering what to do at the end of that. Tony hasn't smoked cigarettes regularly for ten years, but I can tell we're going to need something. Anyone got any suggestions? Anyone got any special tobacco leaf for chewing?

Today: Second of three appointments with ocularist Dr. Steve Young, then Filipino Fair, then...?

(I just did spell check - the program does not approve of the word cabbie!)

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