There is a tunnel between Pacifica and Half Moon Bay, called the Devil's Slide Tunnel, which I love, because as I drive through it, I see nothing but green lights. I am not sure why there are so many lights in a tunnel because there is no cross-traffic at all. But, I get a thrill because the green lights reflect off the shiny walls so it seems like there are even more lights then there really are, and when I come out of the tunnel, I am met with an extraordinary view of the sea. It is my opinion that this experience should be listed as one of the top sights in the Bay Area, but it is never included on a list of things to do. So, for now, I feel it is still mine.
Whenever I get a string of green lights, I feel like things are going my way and that I will likely have a wonderful day—and I usually do. The power of suggestion is undeniable and the road less traveled is still lined with green lights.
Driving in San Francisco seemed less complicated when I first moved here years ago. I had secret parking places stashed all over town. I knew short cuts that could get me from the Marina to the airport in less than 45 minutes. As much as I would like to deny the city has changed, I am faced with the reality that it has changed quite a lot—or has it?
This Thanksgiving, I took a different path altogether and met the San Francisco I originally fell in love with. Here are 5 things I did differently this year.
1. I did less. This year I bought a honey-baked ham instead of the traditional turkey dinner. The Honey-Baked store on Geary Street closed—but I found another store in Colma—of all places. There were so few people in line I thought I had the wrong place. Within moments I had dinner in hand and with a coupon—I spent very little for a week's worth of dinners. I felt a guilty because I saw huge crowds at the grocery store nearby and wondered if I should be doing more—did I get everything needed for a good meal? The pressure was amazing. As it turned out, I got the exact right amount of food with no hassle and no crowds.
2. I avoided downtown and all shopping malls on Black Friday. Instead, I paid a visit to the Disney Museum in the Presidio. There was a fun old movie playing and an great exhibit in town. At one point I walked out the back door and sighed—the view of the Golden Gate Bridge was beyond compare. It was a clear day, I had hot chocolate in my hands and I felt like I was cheating because it was so much fun—and so few people came. Not only that, but I picked up a few simple gifts in the Disney store—without a line.
3. I did a little shopping on Union Street. I am a bath person. While I was visiting London one year, I discovered LUSH—a store devoted to handmade cosmetics, and one other thing—crazy handmade bath balls in every color. When the company finally made its way to the USA, we got a store on Union Street. This may seem unbelievable, but I had this store to myself along with a parking place in front on Black Friday in San Francisco, which is one very good reason to try doing something that is NOT on a list of things to do for the holidays. I got colorful gifts for every woman on my list, I did not stand in a line to do it, and I walked away with products in hand. So much fun!
4. I took a different path. As the sun was setting, we headed for Bakers Beach. I know, it sounds like a ridiculous place to go—the beach at dusk, on a chilly November evening. But I had heard there was a labyrinth festival going on, and I wondered what that could be? We walked along the water on a star-lit evening and saw a glow of lights in the distance. It was a labyrinth made out of paper lanterns. There was just something very romantic about being in an unexpected place in the city to see something unusual and beautiful. It was FREE.
5. We went to Friday Nights at The De Young Museum in Golden Gate Park to see a movie and listen to amazing music. Again, most everybody else was shopping someplace else because we found free parking in front of the door, walked in to a lively party with great music, sat in a movie theater with leather seats and carpet to see a stimulating film, went shopping in a creative store—again without a line—had had a bite to eat in a museum restaurant—and had the time of our life. And it was FREE.
By the time we got home and fell into bed, I realized that this was the easiest Thanksgiving I had ever had. We hosted a fantastic dinner and spent the busiest shopping day of the year taking a different path—San Francisco dazzled us. We still got some holiday shopping done, but without any of the problems. It reminded me of the green lights in the tunnel I love so much.
P.S. Giving gifts around the holidays stressful. The race is on to get so many things done in a short time—and it gets bigger every year. Consider making everything in your life easier this year. Do less of everything. You might be surprised how good you feel. CAREBOX.com.