I didn't leave San Francisco until 5pm. Hence, the title of this here post. I had optimistically thought I could get out by 1. Then by 3... At about 4:30, when I finally had my car packed up, I thought 5 sounded nice and realistic.
Abbie (AGAIN!) helped me with packing/throwing things out/etc. She brought the dog she was dog-sitting, and the dog helped out by going to the bathroom all over my apartment.
But we kept our senses of humor, and kept throwing things out and packing things up, and in the end, I was ready to go.
With one tiny problem...
We tried to strategize... Can she go up here?
But in the end, it was decided that my best bet was to get down to LA, and re-pack the car there, putting together a few more boxes to ship home (and making some space in the car) before my sister comes to meet me in Colorado.
So I was off - on the road by 5pm, and feeling great... until I realized I couldn't really see out of the back window. Knowing that I could shift a few things to give me a better view, I pulled over about 30 miles outside of the city at a nice little gas station in San Leandro. One bag shifting, one water, one its-it and a bag of corn nuts later, I was back on the road.
Happily listening to my iPod and singing along, I was disturbed to note that my music kept getting quiet. A few hard bumps later, it was all but impossible to hear. I began to panic until I realized that my radio did not have the same problem, which meant that the speakers were fine - it was the tape player that had issues. Wanting something fun to listen to, I desperately scanned the radio, to find that A Prairie Home Companion was on. Hurray! Somewhere just south of... somewhere on the 5... NPR disappeared. I tried to find another NPR station so I could hear the final 30 minutes of the show, but to no avail.
Desperately (again), I scanned the radio, listening for any station that might help keep me awake and alert. Turns out, in California's central valley, the only stations are Mexican and hip hop. I scanned again, listening for any song I might actually know - for any familiar sound to keep me company on the long drive - and then I heard her: Delilah.
For those of you not in the know, Delilah has a nightly radio show where she plays soft rock hits of today and yesterday. But it's not as straightforward as that... oh no. Delilah also plays the role of friend, confidant, and pseudo-shrink to any callers. Yesterday, in a 2-hour time period, some highlights included: a woman calling to ask Delilah to play a song that spoke to the joy she was feeling at adopting two children, a man dedicated a song to the woman he's known as a friend for 7 years, and who had recently "hit him over the head" and made him realize that she liked him more than a friend (and, consequently, that he liked her more than a friend too), and another woman calling in to talk about how she's having trouble with her husband of 6 years (they have two kids, have known each other since they were 5, and their troubles are financial).
But all good things must end, and as I continued my journey south, I started losing the signal to the Delilah station. I was starting to get tired, but knew I had only a little more than an hour to go, so I turned to the only no-fail way I know of to keep myself awake while alone in a car: singing.
It started off with some typical folksy songs - the kind I like to sing along with when my iPod/radio combination is working - but I was still feeling pretty tired, so I knew it was time to pull out the big guns: show tunes.
With the near-death experience of Peter leaping out of a moving car to escape a Miss Saigon serenade from Jme and me a few months back still fresh in my memory, I began belting out every song I could think of. And it worked. 45 minutes later (and with very little voice left), I parked my car by the Poolside Cabana. It took every ounce of energy left in me to drag all important & valuable things into the house, but I did it, and at 11:25, I was parked on a couch with my feet up and a big, glass of cold water in my hands.
In all, a most exciting day.