Friday, October 22, 2004

freaking out on the golden gate

So, at the end of the week, it's always nice to get out of town and take a ride. This was last friday, mind, but I mean, it takes a while to do this. Winding down from the terrible excitement of an ops review and an ecstatic all-afternoon discussion about layout frameworks and content layout assembler template managed things, and not forgetting the Jager incident, it was time to take a trip over Woodside and hit the coastal highway in the tasty Chevy Corporate. First stop, Bucks in Woodside. Now, that's some place. Chris tells me that all the deals go down there, so while I wait for him to make me a deal, we get something called a 2x2x2, which is pretty much the best breakfast you can get, except there's twice as much as you can eat. As usual. I could live in these hills. But I don't, so I wave Chris off on his bike and head over the 84 to the Pacific.

A bit twisty. The Jager's coming back. And those pancakes. And the sausages. Hurgh. Ah, there's the sea...

Here's the thing though. You come over here in mid October and it's 90 degrees and you sit in the office all day. You head over the hills to the beach and it's suddenly fricken freezing and total cloud cover. Hmph. I am going to Half Moon Bay and I am going to sit on the beach. Whatever. So, I do that for a while and there is nobody to see for miles, which is a bonus, but I'm getting all morose on the beach on my own, so back in the lovely Chevy Marketeer and up the coast a bit.

All the way up the coast in fact. I was only looking for somewhere to pull over to take my jacket off, but I ended up in Golden Gate Park with that "I'm a tourist" sign stuck on the roof. I swapped it out for the "I'm in a rental car" sign and burned down the middle lane, swerving violently about for the sake of it. After a near miss with a Dodge Enormous I settle down, and succumb to the fact that I'm going over the bridge whether I like it or not (Chris tells me later he's never done the bridge, so me being resigned to it is a bit lame. it's such a drag).

The bridge is looking bad. Mean and bad. I've done the vista point on the north side before, and it's been glorious, day and night. Lucky I guess. Right now, the clouds are at about 50 feet and the mist is just clinging on to the structure. Oh well, no majestic sweeping panoramas on the W1 today. I know. I'll walk across. I've never done that. Ooh, bad idea as it turns out...

So, I set out on foot to see how far I get. Quite ok. Dodging the day bikes and the mental Tour de Bridge carbon fibre brigade. Not many pedestrians. Carry on. The one thing I notice is it's so bloody loud. I mean, that traffic at 4pm on Friday is like a hurricance - six lanes steaming by at ear height. Carry on. The first moments of weirdness happen when you're 'off concrete' and 'on-bridge'. Take a few steps, look over the edge. Take a few more, look over the edge. Stop, look up, and then...look at the size of that thing. The first suspension tower is right in front of you, and that thing is huge, man. I mean, it's huge. When you take the route round the outside of the thing, which hangs out over the water, the sense of scale is overwhelming. So that's where I start freaking. Right then, I've taken a couple of classic wide shots with the SF skyline just about visible. Let's just take a quick one to get some idea of the size of this thing. Ok, there noone around, good. Hang on. There's really noone around. Anywhere. Look both ways and there's no bikes, no pedestrians, no CHP to check whether I'm hanging over the edge. Nobody. K. That's alright. Just a bit odd. Right, let take that shot. Point the camera w a y u p t h e r e to the top. Lean back. Back a bit. Looking straight up now, straight at the camera display...

All I can say really, is that being totally alone, on the most massive man-made structure around (megalophobic), high over the huge, sea-like SF bay (thalassophobic) and losing the horizon and any reference to my spatial positioning I was suddenly in cold panic. I pretended I wasn't though. I mean, somebody might have been looking. I took that shot and then pretty much ran all the way back to the vista point car park, where I set off the car alarm instead of unlocking the doors and hid in the toilet. Or I would have done, if the toilet wasn't being cleaned. I actually hid in the ladies toilet. There.

Anyway, I made myself better by doing a 'Taxi' down Van Ness and onto Market, whereupon I drove the car straight onto the pavement and left it there, like something out of The Deadpool and dashed into Macys, where a very nice man sold me some Puma underwear. They had Lycra and everything.

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