Sometimes humanity matters. Take tonight at Pavlo's in San Ramon. The “L” in Pavlo's is unlit, so the sign looks like “Pav O's.” Two isles over is a young family, the man and woman are blond, with a blond son about twelve, and they are talking and smiling and enjoying their pizza. The son leaves with his glass and returns with it empty and he talks to his mother (I presume). The young lady hostess comes, without prompting, and gives the boy something and he leaves again. He returns shortly, smiling, with a full glass of soda and sits and talks with his family. I can tell they are enjoying themselves. The boy looks like an older Mason, my great nephew, with the same smile and glint in his eye.
At another booth a father, facing me, is talking to his son. The boy looks so much like the man. A woman with her back to me sits beside the boy. The boy gives the woman a big kiss on the cheek, and I think, “what a nice gesture.” The father laughs. The boy, too, leaves to fill his soda glass and returns. Later I see that the woman is not a woman at all, but a young girl just a few years older than the boy. His sister, I presume. Still, a bond is there and it pleases me to see that.
In the booth in front of me is a woman, a little overweight, facing her young son of about seven. He has an infectious smile, too, and he's talking to his mother. I watched him enter Pavlo's, at least ten steps ahead of his mother, unafraid. A single mother? I guessed. Then she got her order to go, so, I think, perhaps she is taking the pizza home to a husband/father and she's not single at all. I hope not.
What a time to get something in my eye, in the middle of a half pitcher of beer and pizza. It was good beer and good pizza at Pavlo's.
Tonight the half pitcher of Bud Lite, that I've learned is exactly 2½ mugs of beer, and the friendly chatter of family made me feel good. So, when I started up the hill out of San Ramon on Crow Canyon Road I wasn't really in the mood for racing. Just a leisurely drive home was all I had in mind. But, I, in my Chevy 1500 pickup, was third in line of the only four vehicles on the road. In front was a Honda, second was a Mercedes, and behind me was a BMW. The Mercedes hugged the bumper, in a peculiar irritating manner, of the Honda and the BMW hugged my bumper (I couldn't see his headlights behind my tailgate) and it was clear to me that the Mercedes and BMW had a thing going. Just to show my pique, I inched up to the Mercedes until my headlights, much higher than his rear window, lit up the entire interior of his car. Another inch, and I would have bump-drafted him into a ditch. But, I backed off. Crow Canyon Road is a dangerous, curvy, twisty-turny, mountainous-style road and should be respected and it takes more than a half pitcher of Bud Lite to get too careless.
I could have outrun all of them. A Chevy 1500 pickup V-8, 350 cubic inch engine is bigger than a Mercedes and BMW. But, when we came to that quarter-mile double-lane stretch of road, I let the BMW go around me, and he and the Mercedes lit out for the end of the stretch. The Honda, too, had apparently had enough of the Mercedes bumper hugging, so he was in the running, slightly ahead of the Mercedes. They all went around the curve in the distance that narrowed down to a single lane together, nearly neck and neck, and I expected to see all three in the gully when I got there. But, the BMW must have had more guts, because it was his taillights that I saw in the distance at the end of a half-mile straight stretch. The Honda beat out the Mercedes and had slowed, presumably just to piss off the Mercedes who was still hugging his bumper. No matter how fast you go on Crow Canyon Road, the slow guy behind always catches up at the slow and dangerous spots.
Me? I tailed along behind, leisurely making my way home, thinking of the boy who looked liked an older Mason, who says with a big smile when he sees me, “Hi, Uncle Dave,” and the other young man who kissed his sister, and the other boy who enjoyed talking to his mother, as I gradually caught up to the Mercedes and Honda. Something is in my eye. Pizza at Pavlo's is good.