The smell of stale beer and old putrid fish isn't such a great thing to wake up to. Nor is the unwelcoming sound of a garbage truck approaching at a feverish rate. Luckily for me, the truck has to stop two dumpsters down and empty there first. If not for that. I might have been just another squalid stain on the alleyway in this city. I get up, and try to wipe some of the undetermined excreta from my clothes.
Surprisingly, I'm wearing a tuxedo. That's peculiar. But it's barely the beginning. In addition to the speculation about the origin of my tuxedo, I have a couple of other questions, such as, why was I sleeping in an alley, but even more paramount, who am I, and where the hell am I?
I know this, it's fairly nippy out. Probably about 45 degrees. The cold stings on my exposed ears and fingers. It's a miracle I could sleep in an alleyway at that temperature. But I'll assume just for logic sake that I probably didn't choose to bed down there. The garbage truck drops the first dumpster with a slam and moves on to the second. I reach down to tie my left shoe as if it makes my appearance noticeably better. I rub my arms to try to get myself a little warmer and skate out of the alley.
I'm in a big city. That's easy to deduce. Although it's still very early, there are several assorted people waking up and down the streets. This city has some very tall buildings, but most are between 5 and 12 floors. Not much help. But tall enough that I can't get a good look at it all at once. I suddenly decide to see if I have any ID on my person. No such luck. I do however, have 12 dollars and a valet ticket from the Four Seasons. Nice, very swanky, I think to myself. Too bad I don't know where the Four Seasons is. I could ask any of the passers-by what city this is, but my lack of name and place make me feel a bit wary of strangers. and right now, every other person on the planet fits the category of stranger.
This city has hills, I know that, I've been walking up a long hill for about half a mile thinking that I might be able too see a landmark or something that I might recognize. These shoes suck, And they're ugly black patent leather. I'm fairly sure they're rented, along with the tux. I wonder which will happen first, blisters or finding my name? Within sight of the top of the hill, A homeless man sitting next to a cardboard box that says have beer will travel, asks for some change, I tell him I don't have any change, but for a dollar can he tell we where the Four Seasons is? He answers with, "I think it's Winter." I don't give him the dollar.
So, I'm in San Francisco. At the top of the hill I can clearly see the Transamerica building with it's distinctive pyramid shape and Bay Bridge backdrop, and to the northwest, Coit Tower and in the distance, the Golden Gate Bridge. Well, mystery number one solved. Now, all I have to do is find the San Francisco Four Seasons and I can get my car back from the valet.
I know that the financial district is near the Transamerica buildiing, so I go in that direction. It's actually near the direction I came from, but that's what happens when you have impaired recognition. As I descend the same hill, I just conquered, I decide to take a left off to a different street. It seems a bit more direct.
I notice a cab sitting about halfway down the street, I can tell it's running by the billow of steam mushrooming from the tailpipe. I decide to ask the cab driver for directions. I tap on the window and he asks where I wanna go. I tell him I just need directions to the Four Seasons. "I can take you there in three minutes." he says. I try to decide if I should spend the money or save it for the valet fees. I determine that it's likely the valet fees at the Four Seasons are probably more than $12 a night, so I have the cab take me.
"I got a lot of fares from that place last night." he says as we start down the hill. He seems to be in a bigger hurry than I am. "Really" I respond to be polite.
"There was a big wedding. big wedding, big bucks." he has an accent that makes the word bucks sound like box to me.
"Were you at the wedding? He asks me "You're dressed like it."
"I doubt it." I tell him, but really, who knows.
He was right, we pull up to the Four Seasons in under three minutes. The fare is only seven dollars, I give him eight, I still have four dollars for something. who knows what.
The Four Seasons is towering. More than 50 floors, all glass. I stare up at the top and it makes me dizzy, it's very similar to looking down from the top of a tall building, except there's no ground at the top.
"Welcome back sir, where have you been?"
The doorman rushes towards me with the enthusiasm of an elderly person yelling "bingo!"
"I'm not really sure." I tell him, which is true.
"Well when you ran out, you were screaming and shouting. We didn't know what you were doing."
"When was this?" I ask somewhat accusingly.
"Last Night... right after the wedding."
"Who's wedding?" I ask uncomfortably.
"What do you mean?... yours of course!"
I look at the doorman as we walk to the substantial glass lobby doors.
"Not again." I tell him.