Monday, May 4, 2009

California Spring Break, Day Three

Yes, I realize it's been months since our California trip, but these are the last of the pictures and I feel guilty for not having posted them. We loved the Bay Area and hope to visit again soon.

Our last day in California, we went to San Francisco. Even though I'd lived there and visited most years since, I had never been to Alcatraz. We thoroughly enjoyed it: the tour was interesting and informative, and it fully satisfied my macabre fascination with prisoners and notorious criminals.

Views on and around the island. Me sitting at the "desk" in a typical cell.

Loved the audio tour. Can't imagine living with no privacy.

Wildlife photographer Jay strikes again...

Sea lions and shops at Pier 39.

We got to go to dinner at my Grandpa's house in Los Altos.
Me playing the beautiful piano. Grandpa's wife is Jewish, so Jay and the other men wore yarmulkes for the pre-Passover meal (I think he really pulls it off, don't you?).

At Stanford University and the Rodin sculpture garden. It makes me happy how Jay looks like a midget next to the "Walking Man."
Rodin's The Thinker and the Gates of Hell.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Break from "Spring Break"

I know you are all breathlessly awaiting the third and final installment of our California trip, but you're going to have to wait a bit longer. I think I've decided my least favorite blog post "genre" to produce is the Travelogue--so boring! Talk about meticulous:
  1. Upload pictures onto computer from memory card
  2. Go through pictures and delete the ones that were complete failures
  3. Edit the pictures (I almost always boost the saturation--love those vivid colors!)
  4. Decide which pictures to post in my post
  5. Export chosen pictures one by one and resize them to 660 pixels to cut down on uploading time (just figured this out--makes my life much happier)
  6. Decide what size to import each picture as (small, medium, large)
  7. Upload them into blogger 5 at a time
  8. Arrange them in the order and format I want
  9. Write boring travelogue descriptions and attempts at witty captions
  10. Finally (finally!) click the "publish post" button 5 days after starting this process
So, yeah, I'm not very motivated when it comes to posting/captioning lots of pictures. I'd much rather spout off on parallel parking or stupid things I do. So that's the main reason posts have been so few and far between lately: blogging became a chore. Travelogues are important, though: when I squint my eyes I can almost pretend they're a scrapbook (since I do NOT scrapbook in real life), I can count them as a journal entry, and through them my mom and my grandma can see what I've been up to (they love pictures). The other (more minor) reason I've been neglecting my blog is that it's finals week AND I'm super behind in my paper work. (I say "more minor" because I highly enjoy finding distractions to keep me from studying, and blogging is pretty high up on the list... So sometimes when I have a million things to do, I write more posts. Don't tell my mom.)

Yesterday Jay and I helped our friend move. We were super hungry afterwards (and super sweaty because we live in San Antonio and it's hot and muggy no matter what month it is), so we came home, printed out a 2 for 1 Quizno's coupon (to justify going out to eat because we are poor), and headed out to try a toasty torpedo.

There was only one employee in the shop, and he wasn't moving too fast, so I exchanged a few words with a nice-looking, scrubs-wearing, early-30's-ish Indian man who was ahead of me in line. While the man was placing his order, Jay nudged me and said that the man had taught the "dental photography" class at the dental school. So when the man was done talking to the "sandwich artist" (or is that just at Subway?), I blurted out, "So you teach at the dental school, huh?" And the guy looks startled and says "Yes; are you...?" And I say, "No, but he is," and jerk my thumb at Jay.

So then we talk for a few more minutes (this guy was seriously super nice) until it was finally time for me and Jay to order. The employee says, without any lead-in, "I've been here since 8 this morning and I've been working by myself for the last two hours." There was a slightly manic gleam in his eye, and I began to worry that his sandwich-making skills might be compromised. I am a selfless, compassionish person (wait, reverse those suffixes). So we finally order and then I give my coupon to the cashier, just-arrived employee #2 who has tattoos on her wrists and looks about 17, and Jay and I start the debate on whether we want a cookie or a bag of chips with our combo.

Nice blue-scrubs Indian man steps into my peripheral vision and hands the cashier his credit card and says he'd like to pick up our tab. There is a slightly awkward pause as she stares dumbly at him and Jay and I stare dumbly at each other. I grab a cookie, she swipes his card, he signs the receipt, and Jay and I stammer out a surprised thank you. We talked with him until his sandwich was ready, then he smiled and waved and turned and left.

We climbed in our car a few minutes later and drove off, munching on our toasty torpedo sandwiches. I reflected on this man's kindness (we never even asked his name) and was touched by his unsolicited gesture. A newly-affirmed belief in the goodness of the human race, the bond of brotherhood and sisterhood even between strangers, swelled within me.

To him it was just a couple of Quizno's subs; to me it was an affirmation of the divine spark in each of us.